Trips, and Falls in Construction
you have to do is look around........the potential
for slipping, tripping and falls is everywhere.
At home, on the job and during recreation. It
appears that slips and falls are just a fact
of life and nothing can be done about them.
Well, that's just not true and that's what this
program's all about. Preventing slips, trips
and falls on construction sites.
explain some terminology, then we'll discuss
how to prevent these potentially harmful injuries.
A foot-level fall is one when the person falls
to the same level on which he or she was walking
or standing. There are basically two kinds of
hazards that account for more than 90 percent
of all foot-level falls. Slipping hazards and
tripping hazards. A person may slip on grease
or wet surfaces and fall. A person could trip
and fall over some obstacle on a floor surface.
slip and fall because of one or more of the
Traction robbing substances on the floor surface,
such as water, oil, grease, sand, mud, ice and
Flooring offers too little traction, such as
metal floor worn smooth from abrasive traffic,
or smooth finished concrete.
Traction robbing condition associated with shoes,
such as hard leather heels, metal heel plates,
worn heels, slippery substances on soles or
Another factor in slipping in falling is the
individual is not watching where he or she is
going. In other words, not paying attention.
factors present us with some hazard recognition
and prevention techniques, such as inspecting
walkways and floor surfaces regularly. Check
daily for slip and fall hazards. Be alert for
drips or spills from oil, grease, liquids, water
and slippery granular material. Promptly correct
any noted hazard since delay exposes more people
to the hazard. Don't forget to correct the source
of the hazard. Whenever possible, use non- skid
flooring. Floor areas subject to accumulations
of slippery substances should be frequently
cleaned or have some type of non-skid flooring
on the jobsite has a responsibility to clean
up spills as they occur. Spills create slipping
hazards, so when you see a spill, clean it up.....don't
wait for someone else to clean it up.
are always chronic trouble spots on jobsites.
Specific locations often become slipping hazards
due to routine accumulations of oil, grease
or other materials. Such locations should be
studied to see if such accumulations can be
employees have an obligation to report hazards
to their supervisor, if a problem can't be corrected
immediately. Certainly, wearing appropriate
footwear is one of the bestÊ prevention
methods. Metal heel plates on heels of shoes
and boots can be hazardous when walking on rigid
surfaces, such as wood or metal.
sure walkways and other frequently used floor
areas are adequately illuminated. Replace burned
out lights and correct dark shadow-casting conditions.
Everyone needs to see where they're going, so
make sure dark areas are well lit. Tripping
hazards pose special problems, so it takes special
effort to reduce these hazards. Floor conditions
or objects on floors that present an obstacle
to foot movement are considered tripping hazards.
Tripping hazards include cables, ropes, tools,
boxes, lumber, legs of equipment, and faulty
flooring. Many such obstacles result from poor
housekeeping. Here are some tips to help prevent
Be sure there is adequate storage facilities.
When items are scattered around, or stored improperly,
this indicates a lack of storage facilities
or persons are not properly storing their equipment,
tools and other items. Poor housekeeping is
one of the major causes of tripping hazards.
Cleaning and disposal equipment can significantly
improve housekeeping, so make sure there is
adequate cleaning and disposal equipment to
maintain good housekeeping. Maintain as you
go, is a good policy.
Overhead instead of underfoot, is an old saying
on jobsites. Basically it means to run cables,
hoses, ropes and wires overhead instead o? along
the floor. Where such items must be run on the
floor, it should be straight, flat and shielded
or marked for easy identification. Portable
warning signs and blinker lights are useful
to attract attention to such tripping hazards.
Inspect floor surfaces frequently. Regular daily
inspections of walkways and working areas is
necessary and to correct any deficiencies found
during these inspections.
Of course, tripping prevention wouldn't be complete
without housekeeping. Good housekeeping means
establishing a place for everything, such as
tools, materials, portable equipment, waste,
scrap and seeing to it that everything is kept
in its proper place when not in use.
most important aspect of reducing tripping hazards
is for everyone to watch where they're going.
Sure, you get busy, have a lot of things to
do, but it doesn't take a lot of effort to watch
where you're walking. Watch for un-level surfaces,
holes, lumber, cables, cords and other hazards
and take the action necessary to prevent a trip
and fall. Now let's take a few minutes to talk
about fall to below accidents. A fall to below
accident is one in which a person falls to a
level below that on which he was walking, standing
or working. These types of falls can be quite
two most common situations involved are working
above ground or floor level and working at or
around ground or floor openings. Working above
ground could be a person overextending his reach
on a ladder, causing the ladder to kick out
sideways, causing a fall to the ground.
at or around ground or floor openings could
be a person falling down an elevator shaft or
falling through a floor opening. Let's take
a look at some potential problems and what you
can do about them. When you're working on ladders,
platforms, scaffolding or on permanent structures,
be sure to use proper procedures and caution.
Make sure the equipment used was erected safely.
Ladders in particular should be at the proper
angle, with firm footing.
Don't use defective equipment. Ladders, structural
members of wooden staging and so on. Inspect
before you use the equipment.
When using scaffolds, make sure there are guardrails
to prevent falls.
Work safely and with caution, as there may be
tripping or slipping hazards on structures or
Use safety belts or nets when working above
ground, when not protected from falls by the
use of guardrails.
Guard openings or barricade where necessary
to keep persons from falling through the opening.
Use warning devices, such as signs or lights.
Temporary floor or ground openings should never
be left unattended, unless marked with suitable
warning devices. Keep in mind, however, that
warning signs and lights are no permanent substitute
are literally hundreds of techniques, rules
and procedures to prevent slips, trips and falls,
but none are more effective than the effort
each individual devotes to watching for hazards,
then avoiding the hazard. If you're attentive
to where you're walking and avoid the hazard......
there's no slip, trip and fall. If you exercise
caution around floor openings....there's no
slip, trip and fall. If you maintain good housekeeping
on the jobsite, keep tools and equipment out
of the way....there's no slip, trip or fall.
If you use safe, serviceable equipment, such
as ladders and scaffolding, and you position
the ladders and scaffolding properly....there's
no slip, trip and fall.
is an individual responsibility. You can use
the best equipment, but if each person doesn't
think and act safely...it won't do any good.
Think about safety on each and every job. It's
important to you, the company and to your families.