This blog was written by Josh Hancey, Safety Director at Helpside.

Slips, trips, and falls constitute a significant portion of workplace injuries and can occur in even the safest of work environments, with approximately 25% of reported incidents occurring annually, as documented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Among these incidents, about 20% result in serious injuries, including fractures, head trauma, and spinal cord injuries, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Broken bones are a prevalent outcome, with around 30% of all fall-related injuries involving fractures, as indicated by research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Additionally, torn tendons and ligaments are frequently cited as accompanying injuries, prolonging recovery periods and complicating rehabilitation efforts.

Cause of slip, trip, and fall injuries

These incidents are often attributable to various factors, including slippery surfaces, human error, and inadequate lighting. According to OSHA, approximately 55% of workplace slips, trips, and falls are caused by environmental factors such as wet or oily surfaces, uneven flooring, and weather hazards. Human error, including distractions, rushing, and improper footwear, contributes to nearly 25% of these incidents, as reported by the National Floor Safety Institute. Moreover, poor lighting conditions are implicated in around 15% of workplace falls, impairing visibility and increasing the risk of accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Prevention of slip, trip, and fall injuries

To maintain a safe work environment and prevent slips, trips, and falls, several proactive measures can be implemented:

  • Routine Inspections – Implement regular inspections of work areas to identify and address potential hazards, including slippery surfaces, uneven flooring, poor lighting conditions, and damaged or obstructed walkways.
  • Proper Footwear – Ensure that employees wear appropriate footwear designed for their specific work environment, considering factors such as slip resistance, comfort, support, and fit. Provide education and resources to help employees choose the right footwear for their job duties. Rotate footwear regularly to ensure it remains effective.
  • Use of Mats – Place anti-slip mats in doorways, entry points, and other high-traffic areas to absorb moisture, debris, and provide traction, reducing the risk of slips and falls. It is essential to regularly clean and maintain these mats to ensure their effectiveness in preventing accidents. Designate a responsible individual to regularly inspect the mats and ensure they are properly positioned and free from any hazards such as bunching or rolling up, which could increase the risk of tripping.
  • Contrasting Edges – Install contrasting colors or markings on steps, ramps, and other elevated surfaces to enhance visibility and alert employees to changes in elevation, reducing the risk of tripping. Consider using tactile indicators, such as textured surfaces or raised edges, to further improve awareness for visually impaired individuals.
  • Avoid Distractions – Promote a culture of safety awareness by encouraging employees to stay focused and alert while navigating workspaces. Discourage distractions such as using mobile devices, engaging in unrelated tasks, or carrying bulky items that obstruct vision or movement.
  • Effective Housekeeping – Maintain clean and clutter-free work areas through regular housekeeping practices. Promptly clean up spills, leaks, and debris, and use signage to alert employees to potential hazards. Remove obstacles from walkways, secure loose cables and cords, and organize storage areas to prevent tripping hazards. Regularly inspect and maintain equipment and machinery to prevent leaks, spills, or malfunction that could contribute to accidents.
  • Proper Lighting – Ensure that workspaces are adequately illuminated to enhance visibility and reduce the risk of accidents. Install bright, evenly distributed lighting fixtures, especially in areas prone to low visibility or shadows. Consider using motion-activated lights or timer-controlled lighting systems to improve energy efficiency and maintain optimal lighting conditions throughout the day.
  • Training and Education – Provide comprehensive training to employees on safe work practices, hazard recognition, and proper use of equipment and personal protective gear. Offer refresher courses and ongoing education to reinforce safety protocols and promote a culture of continuous improvement. Often awareness is half the battle. We have created a guide you can use to provide training to your employees.
Download Slip, Trip, and Fall Training Guide

The financial impact of slips, trips, and falls extends beyond immediate medical expenses and compensation claims, encompassing lost productivity and increased insurance premiums due to workplace injuries. In the United States alone, the total annual cost of workplace injuries attributable to these incidents exceeds $70 billion, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).

This substantial financial burden underscores the urgent need for preventive measures and proactive interventions in workplaces worldwide.

If you need assistance in mitigating slip, trip, and fall hazards and reducing workplace injuries, please reach out to Helpside Safety Director Josh Hancey at jhancey@helpside.com. With expertise in workplace safety and risk management, Josh can provide tailored solutions to address your organization’s specific needs and minimize the financial and human toll of accidents. By partnering with Helpside, you can prioritize employee well-being, enhance productivity, and create a safer work environment for all.