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Safety Spotlight: Slips and Trips

Thursday, July 18, 2019

By: Alec Schaufenbuel

We spend a lot of time talking about how common falls are in the construction industry. But not all falls are from great heights. Slips and trips (or same level falls) are far more common than falls from heights, although far less likely to kill you. These smaller falls are just as dangerous to your health and body.

Falls from the same level cost businesses over $11 billion in 2018. The most common injuries from slips and trips were back injuries, sprained or strained ankles and knee sprains or strains. These accidents can occur in a variety of ways including wet or greasy floors, clutter and debris, uneven surfaces or improper cleaning. However, slips and trips are the most preventable accidents that can occur.

How to prevent slips and trips:

  • Clear all walkways of debris – look for wet floors, loose mats, cords or wires, and mark uneven floors
  • Make sure all walking paths and stairs are well lit
  • Remove water and ice as necessary (especially considering the weather in Iowa)
  • Pre-plan work – if working with or around chemicals or water that can cause a slippery surface, warn others with proper signage. Also, place slip resistant mats where workers will be standing to complete these tasks.
  • Adjust Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – make sure the equipment being used in appropriate for the work being done.
  • Maintain all floors and walkways consistently – cleanup work areas as the work is completed, remove any debris and store cords and equipment properly. 
While a slips and trips might be funny in the movies, they account for a significant number of injuries in construction each year. Take a few minutes before each day and before starting each task to ensure your surroundings are safe for you and others. These accidents are very preventable!