Don’t fall for it

To avoid slips, trips and falls, walk like a duck with your feet pointed slightly outward to establish a more secure center of balance.

Each year 265,000 people in the United States lose at least one day of work time because of non-fatal injuries from slips, trips and falls, according to the National Safety Council.

Slips, trips and falls result in 17 percent of all non-fatal workplace injuries per year, the highest injury rate of any regulated activity. They are also the second leading cause of injury and death in the utility and construction industry. Slips, trips and falls can result in everything from mere embarrassment to pulled muscles.

Falls are usually divided into two areas – same level and from a height. Fermilab’s incident history tells us most of our falls are of the same-level variety.

By incorporating a few of these prevention steps in your safety plan, you can reduce the amount of slips, trips and falls at your location.

  • Be aware of current weather conditions and how it could affect walking surfaces.
  • Scan ahead while walking to spot any hazards ahead.
  • Remove hazards you encounter, or Maneuver carefully around the hazards.
  • Keep your work area clean and free of clutter.
  • Choose appropriate footwear to match your environment, especially in winter.
  • Improve the lighting in your work area.
  • Alert others of hazard by using cones or other barriers and notify your supervisor or safety officer immediately.
  • If you see an icy or snowy patch that needs treatment, don’t hesitate to contact Roads and Grounds at x3303.

Inclemental weather presents the greatest challenge for avoiding falls. Take five! Slow down, keep a steady footing and watch where you step. In snowy and icy areas, shorten your stride to keep your center of balance. Walk like a duck, with your feet pointed slightly outward, creating a stable base and making wider corners. Watch an example of this type of safe striding here.

For more information on slips, trips and falls, view this presentation from the National Safety Council.

J.B. Dawson