Preventing Slips and Trips: Script

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The following safety module is intended to be used as a refresher safety awareness session and is in no way to be used as a substitute for job training nor proper equipment use.

Many of the injuries that result from falls can be avoided. The key is to become aware of the potential hazard and to avoid it whenever possible. Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries around the house as well as a major cause of most agricultural injuries.

The safety modules may be used by anyone with the understanding that credit be given to AgSafe.


Trips and falls often occur while people are in a hurry, because they often take short cuts and don't pay attention to what they are doing. (See Figure 1.) We all have tried to jump across an obstacle instead of walking "the long way around" to our destination. These types of acts are unsafe. Learn to slow down and walk sure- footedly by avoiding potentially hazardous short-cuts.


Avoid injuries by paying attention to where you are walking. (See Figure 2.) Learning to recognize hazards and avoid potential hazards saves time, money and injury. As mentioned previously, resist the temptation to take short-cuts because short-cuts are usually comprised of objects or routes not designed for foot traffic and often consist of unstable, shaky or slippery surfaces.


Slippery surfaces often don't appear dangerous until you happen to step on them, and then it's too late. Clean up grease, water and other forms of spills as you notice them. Cover icy and greasy spots with sand or dirt or other types of absorbent material. (See Figure 3.)


If you cannot avoid walking on slippery or wet surfaces, practice walking safely across them. Don't try to run, jump or slide across these slick surfaces. Instead, take slow, short steps with your toes pointed slightly outward. For additional balance, keep your hands at your sides (not in your pockets) to support you if you begin to fall. (See Figure 4.) Remember that a freshly polished floor can also be very slick even though it doesn't usually appear hazardous.


If you work in an area that has slippery surfaces, such as a milking shed or concrete nursery floor, wear shoes that have slip-resistant soles. (See Figure 5.) Ask your supervisor about the correct shoe for your job. Keep your shoes free from grease and oil. On large walkways, use mats or rough grade coverings to assist in minimizing falls.


Inadequate lighting can camouflage what is in your way, so replace light fixtures or bulbs that don't work. (See Figure 6.) When you enter a darkened room always turn on the light first, even if you stay only for a moment. Keep walkways clear of obstructions in areas that have poor lighting.


Stairs which are too steep or not steep enough can create the potential for trips and falls. Because it is very easy to lose your footing while climbing stairs, walk up and down stairs slowly. (See Figure 7.) Be cautious of worn or broken steps, and of insufficient lighting that may make it difficult to see properly. Never run up or down stairs, and avoid skipping steps. If you have to carry a load while climbing stairs, carry the load so it doesn't block your vision, and keep one hand free, if possible, to hold onto the wall railing.


Check your ladder to ensure the rungs are in good condition and that it has no cracks or broken parts. (See Figure 8.) If the ladder is equipped with a spreader that locks the ladder frame into position, make sure it is secured before you begin to climb. Most importantly, check to make sure the ladder is the correct height for the task at hand; this will prevent you from reaching too far forward or upward, which could cause you to become off balance.

Publication #: CA 94720

This publication is compiled from various reference sources and is designed to provide current and authoritative information on the subject matter covered. It is provided with the understanding that the publishers are not engaged in rendering medical, legal, accounting or other professional service. AgSafe, the Safety Center, Inc., and FELS believe the information provided to be correct, but assume no liability for consequential or other damages attendant to the use of this material. In no event shall the liability of AgSafe, the Safety Center, Inc., or FELS for any claim, however designated, exceed the purchase price, if any, for this publication. No claim may be maintained against AgSafe, the Safety Center, Inc., or FELS in any tribunal unless written notice of the claim is delivered to the applicable entity within 30 days of its discovery. Information about the Agsafe Project can be obtained by writing to Agsafe, 140 Warren Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720

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