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KU-EHS May Safety Tip: Slips, Trips and Falls

Thursday, May 5, 2016

1. How do slips occur?


Would you believe that the majority of general industry accidents involve slips, trips and falls? In fact, such incidents account for about 20 percent of all work-related injuries. So, today we’re going to spend a few minutes talking about slip, trip and fall prevention.

  • Slips are generally caused by a combination of slippery surfaces and wearing the wrong footwear.

There are two major types of slips:

  • One occurs as the heel of the forward foot touches the walking surface and the front foot slips forward, causing the individual to fall backward
  • The other occurs when the rear foot slips backward. As the rear heel is lifted to move forward, the weight shifts from the heel to the sole of the shoe. If the sole slips, the person may fall.

2. What actions can you take to prevent slips on the job?

  • The primary thing that keeps you from slipping is traction. The amount of traction a person has depends on the floor surface and the soles of his or her shoes.
  • Wear the correct shoes for the job, and keep the soles clean for better traction
  • Hard rubber soles work best on greasy concrete and wood surfaces.
  • Soft rubber soles work best on dry surfaces.
  • Crepe soles work best on rough concrete surfaces, either wet or dry.
  • Neoprene soles can be worn safely on most wet or dry surfaces

3. How do trips occur?

  • Trips occur when the front foot strikes an object and is suddenly stopped. The upper body is then thrown forward, and a fall occurs.
  • One of the best ways to prevent trips is to practice good housekeeping. Keep things off the floor that don’t belong there. This way, there are fewer things your feet can bump into.

4. Describe two “step and fall” scenarios.

  • One type of “step and falls” occurs when the front foot lands on a surface lower than expected, such as when unexpectedly stepping off a curb in the dark. In this type of fall, the person normally falls forward.
  • A second type of step and fall occurs when one steps forward or down, and either the inside or outside of the foot lands on an object higher than the other side. The ankle turns, and one tends to fall forward and sideways.

Pay Attention


The best way to prevent slips, trips and falls? Pay attention. When you’re alert, you’re far more likely to see potential slip and trip hazards in your path. Also, take it slow. Rushing around increases the likelihood of a fall-related incident.

Report A Safety Concern

Report a concern to KU-EHS

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