Weill Cornell Medicine

  • Weill Cornell Medicine

Environmental Health and Safety

Slips, Trips, and Falls: Understanding, Preventing, and Mitigating Risks

By Gian Joseph, Safety Advisor

As we enter the rainy and cold season, we face several risks , which include slips , trips, and fall s in our day-to-day activities. It is important t o be aware of hazards around us and learn how to properly identify and assess any risks with each step.  

Slips, trips, and falls (STFs) are common accidents that can lead to severe injuries. These incidents occur in various settings, from homes and workplaces to public spaces , and i t is essential to understand the causes, consequences, and , most importantly, strategies for prevention and mitigation.   

1. Understanding the Dynamics of STFs. STFs are caused by the following .  

Insu fficient friction between the shoe and the walking surface. Common causes include wet or greasy floors, spills, and loose debris (Slip and Fall Accidents, 2021).  

When a person's foot collides with an object or an uneven surface, it caus es them to lose balance. Typical trip hazards include cluttered walkways, electrical cords, uneven flooring, and damaged or upturned mats (Slip and Fall Accidents, 2021).  

2. The Impact of STFs  

Slips, trips, and falls have far-reaching effects, affecting individuals and society . Personal i njuries range from minor cuts , bruises, sprains , and abrasions to fractures, dislocations, and head injuries (National Safety Council, 2021). The medical expenses associated with treating STF-related injuries can be substantial , including hospital stays, surgeries, rehabilitation, and ongoing care (National Safety Council, 2021). STFs can result in missed workdays and reduced productivity for both individuals and employers. Workers' compensation claims and absenteeism contribute to economic costs (National Safety Council, 2021). Lastly, t he physical and psychological consequences of STFs can limit mobility, independence, and overall quality of life, especially among older adults ( Sahyoun et al., 2020).  

3. Prevention and Mitigation Strategies  

Preventing and mitigating STFs involves a combination of awareness, environmental modifications, and education . H ere are some ways you can take precaution s against STFs in your daily activities;  

Clear Pathways: Maintain clear, unobstructed walkways by removing clutter and tripping hazards such as cords, toys, and loose rugs (Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA], 2002).  

Adequate Lighting: Ensure proper lighting in all areas, both indoors and outdoors, to improve visibility and reduce the risk of tripping over obstacles (OSHA, 2002).  

Slip-Resistant Flooring: Install slip-resistant flooring materials, especially in areas prone to moisture, like bathrooms and kitchens (OSHA, 2002).  

Footwear: Encourage the use of proper footwear with good traction, especially in environments where slip hazards are prevalent ( Sahyoun et al., 2020).  

Handrails and Guardrails: Install and maintain handrails and guardrails on stairs, ramps, and elevated platforms to provide support and prevent falls (OSHA, 2002).  

Warning Signs: Use signage to alert individuals to potential hazards, such as wet floors or uneven surfaces (OSHA, 2002).  

Education and Training: Promote awareness and provide training to individuals on recognizing and avoiding STF hazards (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH], 2015).  

Workplace Safety: Employers should implement safety protocols and conduct risk assessments in the workplace, addressing potential STF risks (NIOSH, 2015).  

Regular Maintenance: Routinely inspect and maintain buildings, walkways, and outdoor areas to identify and address potential hazards promptly (NIOSH, 2015).  

4. A Holistic Approach to STF Prevention  

Preventing and mitigating STFs require a collaborative approach involving individuals, organizations, and communities:  

Individuals : Exercise caution when walking, especially in unfamiliar or potentially hazardous environments. Wear appropriate footwear and take your time, especially in wet or slippery conditions ( Sahyoun et al., 2020).  

Employers: Create a safe work environment by identifying and mitigating STF risks. Provide training to employees on safety protocols and the proper use of equipment (OSHA, 2002).  

Property Owners and Managers: Ensure properties are well-maintained and free from hazards. Regularly inspect and address issues promptly (NIOSH, 2015).  

Government and Local Authorities: Enforce building codes and regulations that promote safety, especially in public spaces and commercial buildings (OSHA, 2002).  

Conclusion  

Slips, trips, and falls are preventable accidents that carry substantial personal, economic, and societal costs. By comprehending the causes, consequences, and prevention strategies, we can significantly reduce the incidence of STFs and mitigate their impact. Whether at home, at work, or in public spaces, prioritizing safety and fostering awareness about STFs is crucial for the well-being of individuals and communities. Let us strive collectively to create environments where everyone can move safely and confidently, free from the fear of falling.  

References:  

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). (2015). Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls in Wholesale and Retail Trade Establishments. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2015-100/pdfs/2015-100.pdf  

National Safety Council. (2021). Injury Facts. https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/work/overview/work-safety-introduction/work-...  

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). (2002). OSHA Publication 3151-12R. Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls in Wholesale and Retail Trade Establishments. https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3151.pdf  

Sahyoun , N. R., Pratt, L. A., & Lentzner , H. (2020). The Changing Profile of Nursing Home Residents: 1985-1997. Journal of Aging and Health, 12(3), 336-363.  

Slip and Fall Accidents. (2021). InjuryClaimCoach.com. https://www.injuryclaimcoach.com/slip-and-fall-accidents.html  

Please note that the sources cited are accurate as of the time of writing this article. For the most current information, consult authoritative sources and local health authorities.  

Go to the staff directory for individual contacts within EHS. You may also use the Weill Cornell Medicine online directory to search for faculty and staff.

Create an EHS Incident

Weill Cornell Medicine Environmental Health and Safety 402 East 67th Street Room LA-0020 New York, NY 10065 Phone: (646) 962-7233 Fax: (646) 962-0288

Slips, Trips, and Falls Inspection Checklist

Use this checklist to identify and address hazards that cause costly slip, trip, and fall injuries.

Slips, trips, and falls are a leading cause of workplace injuries in schools, so it’s essential that organizations stay vigilant and address potential hazards. Here’s a checklist to help you identify problems before they cause an accident or injury.  

You'll need to log in to keep reading.

This information is exclusively for members with Workers' Compensation access.

  • Skip to main content

slips trips and falls risk assessment for schools

Bin collections

Slip and trip risk assessment template, about this publication .

It is important to raise awareness with staff and pupils to make sure they understand how they can help prevent slips and trips.

Use this Slip and trip risk assessment template to make sure all hazards are effectively controlled.

Publishing information

From: Health and Safety Team

Published: October 2014

Word:  Slip and trip risk assessment template (Word doc) [73KB]

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. If you need help to access this information within this file, please get in touch to request an accessible format .

Help us to improve this website

  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to site information
  • Departments

Language selection

  • Français

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Scheduled maintenance - Thursday, July 12 at 5:00 PM EDT

We expect this update to take about an hour. Access to this website will be unavailable during this time.

Prevention of Slips, Trips and Falls

On this page, how do falls happen, how to prevent falls due to slips and trips, what can you do to avoid falling at work.

Statistics show that the majority (67%) of falls happen on the same level resulting from slips and trips. The remaining 30% are falls from a height. This document will summarize information on "falls on the same level" (slips and trips). Falls from an elevation, such as falls from ladders, roofs, down stairs or from jumping to a lower level, etc., is discussed in other documents since each type of fall must be assessed as part of a fall prevention program .

Slips happen where there is too little friction or traction between the footwear and the walking surface. Common causes of slips are:

  • wet or oily surfaces
  • occasional spills
  • weather hazards
  • loose, unanchored rugs or mats
  • flooring or other walking surfaces that do not have the same degree of traction in all areas

Trips happen when your foot collides (strikes, hits) an object causing you to lose balance and, eventually fall. Common causes of tripping are:

  • obstructed view
  • poor lighting
  • clutter in your way
  • wrinkled carpeting
  • uncovered cables
  • bottom drawers not being closed
  • uneven (steps, thresholds) walking surfaces

Both slips and trips result from unintended or unexpected change in the contact between the feet and the ground or walking surface. This fact shows that good housekeeping, quality of walking surfaces (flooring), selection of proper footwear, and appropriate pace of walking are critical for preventing fall incidents.

Housekeeping

Good housekeeping is the first and the most important (fundamental) level of preventing falls due to slips and trips. It includes:

  • cleaning all spills immediately
  • marking spills and wet areas
  • mopping or sweeping debris from floors
  • removing obstacles from walkways and always keeping walkways free of clutter
  • securing (tacking, taping, etc.) mats, rugs and carpets that do not lay flat
  • always closing file cabinet or storage drawers
  • covering cables that cross walkways
  • keeping working areas and walkways well lit
  • replacing used light bulbs and faulty switches

Without good housekeeping practices, any other preventive measures such as installation of sophisticated flooring, specialty footwear or training on techniques of walking and safe falling will never be fully effective.

For more information about effective housekeeping, visit the OSH Answers document on Workplace Housekeeping - Basic Guide .

Changing or modifying walking surfaces is the next level of preventing slip and trips. Recoating or replacing floors, installing mats, pressure-sensitive abrasive strips or abrasive-filled paint-on coating and metal or synthetic decking can further improve safety and reduce the risk of falling. However, it is critical to remember that high-tech flooring requires good housekeeping as much as any other flooring. In addition, resilient, non-slippery flooring prevents or reduces foot fatigue and contributes to slip-prevention measures.

In workplaces where floors may be oily or wet or where workers spend considerable time outdoors, prevention of fall incidents should focus on selecting proper footwear. Since there is no footwear with anti-slip properties for every condition, consultation with manufacturers is highly recommended.

Properly fitting footwear increases comfort and prevents fatigue which, in turn, improves safety for the employee. For more information on footwear visit the OSH Answers document on Safety Footwear .

You can reduce the risk of slipping on wet flooring by:

  • taking your time and paying attention to where you are going
  • adjusting your stride to a pace that is suitable for the walking surface and the tasks you are doing
  • walking with the feet pointed slightly outward
  • making wide turns at corners

You can reduce the risk of tripping by:

  • keeping walking areas clear from clutter or obstructions
  • keeping flooring in good condition
  • always using installed light sources that provide sufficient light for your tasks
  • using a flashlight if you enter a dark room where there is no light
  • making sure that things you are carrying or pushing do not prevent you from seeing any obstructions, spills, etc.
  • Fact sheet last revised: 2023-03-28

education.vic.gov.au

School operations

Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention

  • 1. Ongoing management of slips, trips and falls prevention
  • 2. Identifying and assessing slip, trip and fall risks and hazards
  • 3. Controlling the risks
  • 4. Hazard, incident and near miss reporting

Many slip, trip and fall hazards can be prevented with good housekeeping to ensure a clean and organised workplace. Some risks are more difficult to control and may need a more considered approach such as:

  • adding extra hooks for school bags to be hung
  • ongoing encouragement of students to maintain good housekeeping
  • changing or removing floor coverings
  • adding power outlets to limit cords becoming disorganised or laying across walkways
  • cleaning of drains and guttering to allow water to drain quickly
  • installing additional lighting
  • installing additional storage
  • maintaining ramps, stairways and wooden walkways particularly in older buildings
  • induction for safe access for people with special needs or disability.

Below are some practical suggestions to prevent and control slips, trips and fall risks.

Controlling slips

Everyone has a role to play in keeping the work area clear and taking responsibility for cleaning up their own spills.

  • Ensure there are products and equipment available to clean up spills when they occur.
  • Encourage students to notify teachers of spills and assist with cleaning.
  • Ensure downpipes and drains are kept clear.
  • Use signs and cordon off areas where floors are wet after mopping.

Controlling trips

Trips most often occur because of uneven flooring or cluttered walkways with low obstacles which are not easily visible or noticed.

  • Display signage to encourage students to contribute to good housekeeping such as pushing in their chairs and hanging bags up.
  • Display signs discouraging running in spaces prone to crowding.
  • Keep work areas free from clutter and minimise tripping hazards in walkways such as bags, cords and loose flooring/mats.
  • Ensure there is adequate storage and shelving available to store boxes, bags and so on off the floor.
  • Tidy and organise electrical and computer cords so they are not in areas that people walk.

Controlling falls

Falls commonly occur when balance is lost while using unstable items to reach an item.

  • When storing items, place frequently used objects in easy reach.
  • Do not stand on unstable platforms such as chairs to reach items that are high up.
  • Do not overreach or lean over when using step ladders.
  • Step down from ladder and reposition closer to work area.
  • Ensure Safe work procedure - Use of a step platform ladder (DOCX) External Link is displayed next to step ladder storage area.

Display the Preventing slips, trips and falls in schools poster (PDF) External Link in your school (including on your OHS Noticeboard) to remind staff, students and visitors to be aware of behaviours that reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls.

The principal and/or their delegate, in consultation with the HSR and employees, must record identified and implemented risk controls to manage slips, trips and falls risks on the school’s OHS Risk Register.

Reviewed 15 January 2023

  • Print whole topic

IMAGES

  1. Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention

    slips trips and falls risk assessment for schools

  2. Slips, trips, and falls checklist in Word and Pdf formats

    slips trips and falls risk assessment for schools

  3. Slips, trips, and falls checklist in Word and Pdf formats

    slips trips and falls risk assessment for schools

  4. Info Poster

    slips trips and falls risk assessment for schools

  5. I Was Injured Because My Employer Failed To Do Slips And Trips Risk Assessments

    slips trips and falls risk assessment for schools

  6. Slips, Trips and Falls Risk Assessment

    slips trips and falls risk assessment for schools

VIDEO

  1. OSHA

  2. Preventa Safety Tips: Slips, Trips & Falls

  3. slips trips falls scene 5 stairways

  4. Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention Program Online Training Course and Certification

  5. Webinar: How to Reduce Outdoor Slip, Trip and Falls

  6. Slips, Trips and Falls

COMMENTS

  1. PDF Slips, Trips and Falls (General)

    Slips, trips and falls H High risk areas for slips, trips, and falls are identified and dealt with, e.g. walkways, stairs/steps, entrances/ exits 6 Floor areas inside and outside the entrance are slip resistant when wet Higher risk slip, trip or fall periods Slips, trips and falls H Higher risk identified (e.g. during break time/1pm to

  2. Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention

    2. Identifying and assessing slip, trip and fall risks and hazards. Many causes of slips, trips and falls can be identified by being observant and vigilant of the surrounding environment. If a slip, trip or fall hazard is identified, it should be reported to the principal and/or their delegate. Common hazards include but are not limited to:

  3. Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention: Policy

    Key requirements for schools to prevent and manage slips, trips and falls. Schools must: consult with school staff and HSRs to identify, manage and prevent slip, trip and fall hazards; identify slips, trips and falls hazards through observation, workplace inspections and incident reports; assess new or complex hazards using a risk assessment

  4. Slips, Trips, and Falls: Understanding, Preventing, and Mitigating

    Slips, trips, and falls are preventable accidents that carry substantial personal, economic, and societal costs. By comprehending the causes, consequences, and prevention strategies, we can significantly reduce the incidence of STFs and mitigate their impact. Whether at home, at work, or in public spaces, prioritizing safety and fostering awareness about STFs is crucial for the well-being of ...

  5. Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention

    Key requirements for schools to prevent and manage slips, trips and falls. Schools must: consult with school staff and HSRs to identify, manage and prevent slip, trip and fall hazards; identify slips, trips and falls hazards through observation, workplace inspections and incident reports; assess new or complex hazards using a risk assessment

  6. PDF General School Risk Assessments

    High risk areas for slips, trips, and falls are identified and dealt with School equipment is stored tidily School bags stored tidily Pupil belongings on hooks, placed in lockers or safely under desks Floors and access routes are kept clear General School Risk Assessments - No.12 Slips, Trips and Falls (List additional hazards, risks and ...

  7. PDF Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention Guide

    associated with slips, trips and falls. Falls to a lower level accounted for 80 percent of the fatal falls. In 2017, STFs were the second leading fatal occupational injury cause, first being transportation incidents. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018. Causes of Slips, Trips, and Falls Hazards leading to slips, trips, and falls are often ...

  8. PDF SLIP, TRIP AND FALL PREVENTION

    SLIP, TRIP AND FALL PREVENTION Slips, trips and falls can result in injuries with lasting effects and even death. It is important to understand how slips, trips and falls happen, how to identify hazards and how to eliminate or minimize the hazards. Slips happen because of a lack of friction or traction between a person's footwear and the walking

  9. PDF Preventing slips, trips, and falls

    Ask: What are the best practices for preventing slips, trips, and falls? • Practice good housekeeping. - Pick up fallen items right away. - Recognize teachers for excellent housekeeping. • Secure cords. Think about: - Taping the cord to the floor. - Securing the cord with a Velcro strip. - Using plastic or rubber cord covers.

  10. Slips and trips in education

    Slip and trip accidents in education premises happen for a number of reasons. They typically involve: members of staff or pupils/students running or carrying heavy or awkward items, wearing unsuitable footwear, poor lighting - particularly where there are uneven surfaces and changes of level. contamination - both from wet surfaces - caused ...

  11. PDF SLIP, TRIP AND FALL ASSESSMENT GUIDE

    The final step in the assessment program is to determine how to control the slip, trip and fall risks you have identified. Use the slip, trip and fall action plan worksheet provided below for each issue that is a high risk. Based on the contributing factor scores for each area, you can determine your priorities and know which

  12. PDF Slips, trips and falls prevention

    Footwear. Footwear plays an important role in reducing the risk of slips, trips and falls. Footwear should be: suitable for the type of work and work environment. comfortable with an adequate non-slip sole and appropriate tread pattern. checked regularly to ensure treads are not worn away or clogged with contaminants.

  13. Slips, Trips, and Falls Inspection Checklist

    Reduce the risk of liability and costly lawsuits. Facilities ... Slips, trips, and falls are a leading cause of workplace injuries in schools, so it's essential that organizations stay vigilant and address potential hazards. Here's a checklist to help you identify problems before they cause an accident or injury.

  14. Creating a Slip-Proof School

    Thankfully, many slips, trips, and falls can be prevented through risk assessment and preparation, so why wouldn't we want to take simple steps to avoid both minor and major injuries due to falls? Want to learn more about slip-proofing your school? Take a look at the demo for the course Slips, Trips, and Falls in Schools.

  15. Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention

    School operations Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention. Policy ... Ongoing management of slips, trips and falls prevention 2. Identifying and assessing slip, trip and fall risks and hazards 3. Controlling the risks 4. Hazard, incident and near miss reporting ... Risk assessment template (DOCX) Plant and equipment risk management form ...

  16. Slips, Trips and Falls Risk Assessment- TheSchoolBus

    Trusted by thousands of schools, academies and trusts. Health and safety legislation requires schools to take steps to control slip, trip and fall risks so everyone is able to move around safely. This template identifies typical hazards and recommends control measures.

  17. PDF Slip, Trip & Fall Prevention Handbook

    The simplest way of preventing slips, trips and falls injuries in your workplace is to develop a risk management plan which identifies, assesses, controls and monitors safety hazards and risks. The following information, together with the slips, trips and falls risk management tool and worksheet at the back of this booklet, will help you

  18. Slip and trip risk assessment template

    Schools; School health and safety; Slips, trips and falls ... sure they understand how they can help prevent slips and trips. Use this Slip and trip risk assessment template to make sure all hazards are effectively controlled. Publishing information. From: Health and Safety Team. Published: October 2014. Documents. Word: Slip and trip risk ...

  19. PDF Slips, trips and falls checklist

    Slips, trips and falls checklist. This checklist has been developed to assist in the identification of slips, trips and fall hazards in departmental environments. It is recommended that this checklist be completed as least once a year or when slip, trip and fall hazards have been identified. After completing the checklist consult with your ...

  20. CCOHS: Prevention of Slips, Trips and Falls

    Housekeeping. Good housekeeping is the first and the most important (fundamental) level of preventing falls due to slips and trips. It includes: cleaning all spills immediately. marking spills and wet areas. mopping or sweeping debris from floors. removing obstacles from walkways and always keeping walkways free of clutter.

  21. How to Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls

    7 Tips for Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls. Fortunately, most slip, trip, and fall incidents are avoidable. By using the right safety tools and training employees, companies can prevent these incidents from happening in their workplaces. Safety officers should take note of the following aspects to keep their workplaces and fellow employees ...

  22. Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention

    3. Controlling the risks. Many slip, trip and fall hazards can be prevented with good housekeeping to ensure a clean and organised workplace. Some risks are more difficult to control and may need a more considered approach such as: adding extra hooks for school bags to be hung. ongoing encouragement of students to maintain good housekeeping.

  23. Slips, Trips and Falls Online eLearning

    The eLearning outlines why slips and trips are a risk and why they can happen. It also explains the slip potential model. It will help users: understand how contaminants affect slip resistance and the importance of controlling contamination. appreciate the role of cleaning techniques and materials in accident prevention.