• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Copyright
 Front Cover
 Introduction
 Problem
 Fixed ladders
 Fall protective devices
 Slip-resistant materials
 Signs and stripping
 Learning how to fall
 More about shoes and boots
 Recommendations
 Bibliography






Group Title: Florida Cooperative Extension Service circular 869
Title: Preventing injuries from slips, trips and falls
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00049219/00001
 Material Information
Title: Preventing injuries from slips, trips and falls
Series Title: Circular
Physical Description: 8 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Becker, William J
Publisher: Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1990
 Subjects
Subject: Accidents -- Prevention   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Safety measures   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 8).
Statement of Responsibility: William J. Becker.
General Note: Cover title.
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00049219
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: oclc - 22424994

Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Copyright
    Front Cover
        Page i
    Introduction
        Page 1
    Problem
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Fixed ladders
        Page 5
    Fall protective devices
        Page 6
    Slip-resistant materials
        Page 6
    Signs and stripping
        Page 6
    Learning how to fall
        Page 7
    More about shoes and boots
        Page 7
    Recommendations
        Page 7
    Bibliography
        Page 8
        Page 9
Full Text





HISTORIC NOTE


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
(EDIS)

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida





Of


Preventing Injuries


from
Slips, Trips and Falls

r William J. Becker
, L,,_ Sciencb
Library I


Jn;J 'rsity of F1.1i0:6
J i v ,- -


Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences
University of Florida / John T. Woeste, Dean for Extension


Cir. 869


/Fs3







Preventing Injuries
from
Slips, Trips and Falls
William J. Becker*


Introduction
Have you ever slipped, tripped or fallen? Everyone
has at least once, and many have scores of times.
Slips, trips and falls are second in causing disabling
injuries in Florida's agricultural occupations, ac-
counting for nearly 25 percent of all disabling in-
juries.
This publication will discuss the causes of these
accidents and recommend preventive practices to
reduce the number and seriousness of injuries from
slips, trips and falls.

Problem
More than a million people suffer from slip, trip
or fall injuries each year; over 11,000 die as a result
of falls alone. There are an estimated 300,000 disabl-
ing injuries each year in the American workforce,
resulting in 1,400 worker deaths. Slips, trips and
falls account for 15 to 20 percent of all workers' com-
pensation costs.
In Florida agriculture, falls account for 25 percent
of all serious disabling work injuries: 17 percent are
elevated falls, 8 percent are same-level falls. Falls
from elevated levels account for 26 percent of the
injuries in fruit and vegetable production occupa-
tions. Same-level falls account for 12 percent in both
livestock and horticultural production occupations.
In addition, 32 percent of all elevated falls in
Florida agriculture are from ladders, while 25 per-
cent are from vehicles and other mobile equipment.
Same-level falls are to walking or working surfaces
in 76 percent of the accidents.
The back is most frequently injured in falls: 37
percent of the injuries from elevated falls, 29 percent
in same-level falls. The joints wrist, elbow and
shoulder or the ankle, knee and hip account for
47 percent of same-level falls and 32 percent of ele-
vated falls.
Most injuries are sprains and strains: 46 percent
in same-level falls and 52 percent from elevated falls.
Fractures are the result of 19 percent of elevated
falls and 10 percent of same-level falls. Bruises and
contusions account for most of the remaining in-
juries.


The average direct cost for each disabling injury
approaches $10,000. Conservative estimates are that
indirect costs are double this amount, or $20,000.
Add to this the personal and family costs and trauma,
and it is evident that slips, trips and falls should be
avoided.

Types of Falls
Falls are of two basic types: from elevations and
on the same level. Same-level falls are most frequent,
but falls from elevations are more severe. Same-level
falls are generally slips or trips resulting in injury
when the individual hits the walking or working sur-
face, or strikes an object during the fall. Over 60
percent of elevated falls are of less than 10 feet.

Same-level falls: high frequency low severity
Elevated falls: low frequency high severity

Slips and Falls
Slips are primarily caused by slippery surfaces and
compounded by wearing the wrong footwear. In nor-
mal walking, two types of slips occur. The first hap-
pens when the forward foot contacts the walking sur-
face at an angle near the rear edge of the heel. Then
the front foot slips forward and the person falls back-
ward (Figure 1).









Figure 1. On slippery surfaces the front foot slips forward, and
the person falls backward.

The second type of slip is when the rear foot slips
backward. In walking, the force forward is on the
sole of the rear foot. As the rear heel is lifted and
the force moves forward to the front of the sole, the
foot slips back and the person falls (Figure 2).


*William J. Becker is Associate Professor, Extension Safety Specialist, Agricultural Engineering Department, IFAS, University of
Florida, Gainesville, 32611-0361.







Preventing Injuries
from
Slips, Trips and Falls
William J. Becker*


Introduction
Have you ever slipped, tripped or fallen? Everyone
has at least once, and many have scores of times.
Slips, trips and falls are second in causing disabling
injuries in Florida's agricultural occupations, ac-
counting for nearly 25 percent of all disabling in-
juries.
This publication will discuss the causes of these
accidents and recommend preventive practices to
reduce the number and seriousness of injuries from
slips, trips and falls.

Problem
More than a million people suffer from slip, trip
or fall injuries each year; over 11,000 die as a result
of falls alone. There are an estimated 300,000 disabl-
ing injuries each year in the American workforce,
resulting in 1,400 worker deaths. Slips, trips and
falls account for 15 to 20 percent of all workers' com-
pensation costs.
In Florida agriculture, falls account for 25 percent
of all serious disabling work injuries: 17 percent are
elevated falls, 8 percent are same-level falls. Falls
from elevated levels account for 26 percent of the
injuries in fruit and vegetable production occupa-
tions. Same-level falls account for 12 percent in both
livestock and horticultural production occupations.
In addition, 32 percent of all elevated falls in
Florida agriculture are from ladders, while 25 per-
cent are from vehicles and other mobile equipment.
Same-level falls are to walking or working surfaces
in 76 percent of the accidents.
The back is most frequently injured in falls: 37
percent of the injuries from elevated falls, 29 percent
in same-level falls. The joints wrist, elbow and
shoulder or the ankle, knee and hip account for
47 percent of same-level falls and 32 percent of ele-
vated falls.
Most injuries are sprains and strains: 46 percent
in same-level falls and 52 percent from elevated falls.
Fractures are the result of 19 percent of elevated
falls and 10 percent of same-level falls. Bruises and
contusions account for most of the remaining in-
juries.


The average direct cost for each disabling injury
approaches $10,000. Conservative estimates are that
indirect costs are double this amount, or $20,000.
Add to this the personal and family costs and trauma,
and it is evident that slips, trips and falls should be
avoided.

Types of Falls
Falls are of two basic types: from elevations and
on the same level. Same-level falls are most frequent,
but falls from elevations are more severe. Same-level
falls are generally slips or trips resulting in injury
when the individual hits the walking or working sur-
face, or strikes an object during the fall. Over 60
percent of elevated falls are of less than 10 feet.

Same-level falls: high frequency low severity
Elevated falls: low frequency high severity

Slips and Falls
Slips are primarily caused by slippery surfaces and
compounded by wearing the wrong footwear. In nor-
mal walking, two types of slips occur. The first hap-
pens when the forward foot contacts the walking sur-
face at an angle near the rear edge of the heel. Then
the front foot slips forward and the person falls back-
ward (Figure 1).









Figure 1. On slippery surfaces the front foot slips forward, and
the person falls backward.

The second type of slip is when the rear foot slips
backward. In walking, the force forward is on the
sole of the rear foot. As the rear heel is lifted and
the force moves forward to the front of the sole, the
foot slips back and the person falls (Figure 2).


*William J. Becker is Associate Professor, Extension Safety Specialist, Agricultural Engineering Department, IFAS, University of
Florida, Gainesville, 32611-0361.


















Figure 2. When the rear foot slips, the person falls forward.
To prevent such slips and falls a high coefficient
of friction (COF) between the shoe and walking sur-
face is needed. On icy, wet and oily surfaces, this
COF can be as low as .10 with shoes that are not
slip-resistant. A COF of .40 to .50 or more is needed
for excellent traction (Figure 3). To put this figure
in perspective, a brushed concrete surface and a rub-
ber heel will often show a COF greater than 1.0.
Leather soles on a wet, smooth surface, such as
ceramic tile or ice, may have a COF as low as .10.


Figure 3. Shoes with soft rubber soles and heels with rubber
cleats provide a high coefficient of friction.

Providing dry walking and working surfaces and
slip-resistant footwear is the answer to slips and
their resultant falls and injuries. Obviously, high
heels, with minimal heel-to-surface contact, metal
cleats on heels, and shoes with leather or other hard,
smooth-surfaced soles invite slips, falls and injuries.
In areas where work and walking surfaces are
likely to be slippery, non-skid strips or floor coatings
should be used. Since a COF of .40 to .50 is preferred
for work and walking surfaces, a surface should pro-
vide a minimum of 50 percent (.20 to .25 COF) of
this friction. The shoe should provide the remainder
of the friction. If the working surface is very slippery,
no footwear will provide a safe coefficient of friction.

Trips and Falls
Trips occur when the front foot strikes an object
and is suddenly stopped; the upper body is thrown
forward and a fall occurs.
As little as a 3/8" rise in a walkway can cause a
person to stub his toe, resulting in a trip and fall
(Figure 4). The same thing can happen going up a
flight of stairs: with only a slight difference in the
height of the steps, a person can trip and fall.


Figure 4. Stubbing a toe can cause forward falls.

Step and Fall
Another type of working- and walking-surface fall
is the step and fall. This occurs when our front foot
lands on a lower surface than expected, such as step-
ping off a curb in the dark unexpectedly. In this type
of fall, we normally fall forward. A second type of
step and fall happens when we step forward or down,
and either the inside or outside of our foot lands on
an object higher than the other side of the foot. The
ankle turns and we tend to fall forward and sideward.

Contributing Factors
Housekeeping in work and walking areas can con-
tribute to safety and prevention of falls. Not only is
it important to maintain safe working and walking
surfaces, but these areas must be kept free of obsta-
cles which can cause slips and trips. One method
which promotes good work-place housekeeping is
painting yellow lines to identify walking from work-
ing areas. No objects should ever be placed or left in
these walking areas.
Lighting and vision are also important to prevent
slips and falls. Moving between light and dark areas
can cause temporary vision problems. These might
be just enough to cause a slip on an oil spill or a trip
over a misplaced object.
Carrying an oversized object can also obstruct
vision and result in a slip or a trip, especially on
stairs (Figure 5).


Figure 5. Carrying objects which obstruct your view can lead
to serious falls, particularly on stairs.


c=--r








Behavior Which Leads to Falls
In addition to wearing the wrong footwear, there
are specific behaviors which can lead to slips, trips
and falls. Walking too fast, or running, is a major
problem. We land harder on the heel of our front
foot, push off harder from the sole of our rear foot;
thus, a greater coefficient of friction is required to
prevent slips and falls. Rapid changes in direction
create a similar problem.
Other problems are distractions, not watching
where we are going, wearing sunglasses in low-light
areas and failure to use handrails. These and other
behaviors caused by lack of knowledge, impa-
tience, or bad habits can lead to falls, injury or
even death.

Falls from Elevations
As stated previously, falls from elevations are less
frequent than same-level falls in most American
workplaces. This, however, is not true in Florida ag-
riculture in which 17 percent of all serious injuries
are from elevated levels and 8 percent are from same-
level falls.
Falls from ladders while harvesting oranges and
grapefruit are the major cause of elevated falls in
Florida agriculture (Figure 6), but there are also sig-
nificant numbers of falls from vehicles and equip-
ment, loading docks, buildings and other structures.


.1 IL


Figure 6. Falls from ladders while picking fruit are frequent
accidents in Florida.


Falls from Ladders
Ladders may be fixed or portable. Portable ladders
may be straight, extension, or step-ladders, and may
be manufactured from wood, metal, plastic or
fiberglass. They can be light, medium, heavy or extra-
heavy-duty. They can be as short as two feet (step-
stools), to 18 feet for extra-heavy-duty stepladders,
or 40 feet or longer for extension-type ladders.
The materials from which ladders are constructed
have advantages and disadvantages in weight, dura-
bility, flexibility, conductivity, and strength. The in-
tended use of the ladder should determine the type
purchased, and only American National Standard
Institute (ANSI) approved ladders should be used.
One major caution is that metal ladders should never
be used where the ladder or its user could come into
contact with electricity.
A ladder should be long enough so that when it
rests against the upper support, the user can perform
his work without his waist being higher than the top
rung of the ladder, or above the rung at which the
siderails are resting against the upper support. This
means that the top three rungs of a straight ladder,
or the top two steps of a stepladder, should never be
used for the feet (Figure 7).


Figure 7. Never stand on the top two steps of a step ladder.
The lower ends of the siderails should be equipped
with slip-resistant pads, particularly if the ladder is
to be used on hard surfaces. The same is true for the
upper ends of the siderails if they are to rest against
a surface.
Ladders should be set at, or as near as possible to,
a 4:1 angle (Figure 8). That is, for each four feet of
rise from the base to the upper resting edge of the
ladder, the base should be one foot out from a vertical
line from the upper resting edge of the ladder to the
working surface. The base of the ladder must be
firmly set on a level surface so that there is no pos-
sibility of slippage or of settling into soft ground. The








resting edge of the ladder should have both siderails
in contact with the object (building or tree) it is
against. When setting a ladder against a tree, set
the ladder in the crotch of two limbs so that it cannot
slide in either direction. Whenever there is any ques-
tion as to the stability of the ladder, additional effort
should be made to stabilize the ladder or have a
person steady the ladder as it is being climbed. Tying
the top of the ladder to the supporting structure can
also keep the ladder from slipping or sliding.


Figure 8. Use a 4:1 ratio for setting ladders.
Inspect ladders before use for cracks, loose rungs,
slivers and sharp edges. Never paint ladders, as the
paint can hide potentially dangerous conditions.
Wooden ladders can be coated with linseed oil or an
oil-based wood preservative to keep them from drying
out and cracking. Allow ladders to dry thoroughly
before using them or the rungs will be slippery.
The rungs and siderails of ladders must be kept
dry and free of oil, grease and mud. Since the shoe
has limited contact with the rung or step of a ladder,
it is very important that rungs and shoes have a high
coefficient of friction. Wear only shoes with heels
when climbing ladders; the rung or step of the ladder
should be just in front of the heel, under the arch of
the foot. Stepping or standing on a ladder with the
front part of the shoe is inviting a slip and fall. Always
face the ladder when climbing or descending.
Another frequent cause of ladder accidents is at-
tempting to reach too far left or right. When working
on a ladder, a person's belt buckle should never ex-
tend beyond the siderails. Reaching further can
cause the ladder to slide in the opposite direction
(Figure 9). Tying the ladder to the structure support-
ing it can prevent this and is recommended.
Workers should have both hands free to hold the
ladder's siderails, not the rungs, when climbing or
descending. Small tools may be carried in a tool belt,
not in the hands, but a better choice is to raise tools
and supplies with a rope. Never raise or lower power
tools by the cord and never when they are plugged
into an electrical source.


Make-shift ladders, chairs, boxes, and barrels
should never be used as a substitute for a ladder;
the risk of an accident is far too great.


Figure 9. Reaching too far can cause a ladder to slip. Keep
your belt buckle within the side rails of the ladder.

Falls from Vehicles and Equipment
Death or serious injury is a frequent result of extra
riders falling from tractors, agricultural equipment
or the bed of a truck. Unless the operation requires
riders, such as on certain planting and harvesting
equipment where seats or protected work areas are
provided, extra riders should never be permitted.
Riding on tractor fenders, draw-bars, equipment, or
the bed of a truck is an invitation for an accident.
The safe way is "No Riders" (Figure 10).


Figure 10. When riders fall off tractors, equipment or trucks,
the injuries are serious and death is common. Re-
member: NO RIDERS.







Far too many injuries occur during the simple pro-
cess of getting in and out of trucks, on or off tractors,
machinery, wagons, trailers or truck beds. When the
steps are metal, the coefficient of friction is low, and
becomes even lower if they are wet, muddy or oily.
Keep the steps clean and dry.
Whenever mounting or climbing on a vehicle or
machine, have a good hand-hold before stepping up.
Pulling yourself up reduces the force between your
shoe and the step and reduces the danger of a slip.
As with a ladder, step on the step or rung just in
front of your heel, under the arch. Always face the
vehicle or equipment when mounting and dismount-
ing. When dismounting, step down backward and
onto the ball of your foot (Figure 11). When you step
down forward you land on your heel, increasing your
chances of falling, twisting an ankle or knee, or suf-
fering some other injury.


Figure 11. Face the vehicle when mounting and dismounting.
Use the hand holds.

Try this simple experiment. Stand on a stable
wooden chair or some other object 18 to 20 inches
high. Then, facing forward, attempt to slowly step
down to the floor. Notice that you lose your balance,
actually falling the last several inches, and that you
land on your heel. Imagine what could happen should
you step down on an uneven surface. Your ankle
could be easily sprained or fractured. Now step up
onto the object while facing the object and then step
down backward. Notice how much better your bal-
ance is and how you can gently step down onto the
ball of your foot. Using a hand hold can reduce the
impact between your foot and the floor even more.
This same concept applies when getting off the bed
of a truck or wagon or any similar level: step down
backward, never jump or fall down forward.


Falls from Loading Docks
Loading docks and ramps are dangerous areas.
They are frequently congested, heavy traffic areas,
and working and walking surfaces are often wet.
Metal dock plates are special hazards. They can wear
smooth and become very slippery. The edges of the
dock plates invite trips and falls.
Accidental backward steps can result in a fall from
the dock. Portable railings, which can be easily re-
moved from the edge of the dock, could prevent many
dangerous falls. They are removed when a truck or
trailer is at the dock, and replaced as soon as the
truck or trailer leaves.
Proper housekeeping, well-designed traffic pat-
terns, and the use of abrasive, skid-resistant surface
coatings will reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls.
Ramps and gangplanks have hazards similar to
loading docks. The slopes should be as gradual as
possible, as wide as possible and as dry as possible.
They should also have skid-resistant surfaces.

Falls on Stairs
Stairwells should be well-lighted, with sturdy
handrails on both sides. Persons using the stairwell
should have one hand free to be able to use the hand-
rail.
All the steps should have the same rise and depth,
with visible edges. They must be kept free of grease,
oil and obstacles which could cause slips and trips.
Whenever possible, avoid carrying heavy or bulky
objects which obscure your vision or require the use
of both hands. Carry smaller, lighter loads and make
more trips, or obtain help with the load.

Fixed Ladders
Fixed ladders are mounted on buildings, bins and
other tall structures which require workers to climb
to elevations to perform some function. Such ladders
should be securely attached to the structure and be
capable of supporting a minimum of 250 pounds of
concentrated live weight. The rungs should be a
minimum of 16 inches wide and a maximum of 12
inches apart. There should be seven inches of toe
space between the rung and the structure to which
it is attached. Fixed ladders extending more than 20
feet above the ground or floor level should be sur-
rounded by a cage, beginning at 7 to 8 feet above the
ground.
If a catwalk or working area is provided at the top
of the ladder, it should have a protective railing at
least 42 inches high. A toe board, four inches high,
around the edge of the work area should be provided.
This reduces the risk of a person stepping off the
edge or having tools fall from the work area.









Workers climbing or descending a fixed ladder
should have both hands free. Small tools can be car-
ried in a tool belt; other tools and materials should
be raised by rope and pulleys or some other mechan-
ical system.

Fall Protective Devices
Workers at high elevations, such as on ladders,
platforms, or catwalks, should be protected from
falling by some kind of fall protective device (Figure
12). This can be a cage, lifeline, lanyard, safety belt
or harness; there are numerous devices on the mar-
ket. The system should provide maximum protection,
but it also should be reasonably comfortable and not
restrict a worker's necessary work activity. Suppliers
of safety equipment can provide information on the
correct system for your workplace and should provide
instruction on its safe use.



/ ..!


Figure 12. Use fall protective devices when working at high
elevations.

Slip-resistant Materials
Abrasive coatings can be applied to concrete, metal
and wood surfaces to increase the coefficient of fric-
tion and reduce the risk of slips and falls. Many of


these products can be applied like paint; others can
be troweled on in a thin coat. These coatings are
formulated to resist grease, oil, water and a wide
range of chemicals. Most paint and building supply
companies handle these materials. It is important,
however, to purchase the correct product for your
particular problem. Many of these products are
enamels or epoxies which contain a rough, hard,
gritty material with a high coefficient of friction.
There are also a number of skid-resistant products
that can be purchased in strips or rolls. These may
have a pressure-sensitive backing or be applied with
a special glue. They are designed for easy application
to stair treads, ramps and other hazardous walking
and working surfaces. Their effectiveness decreases
with wear; therefore, they do require maintenance
and periodic replacement.


Figure 13. There are a variety of skidresistant materials which
can reduce the risk of slips and falls.
Mats are another effective skid-resistant product
useful in wet and slippery areas.(Figure 13) Among
the more effective products are utility slip mats. They
are made from thick continuous strips of rubberized
fabric. They are long-wearing and provide a high
coefficient of friction on both the top and bottom
sides. Hard rubber, or hard rubber-like mats, are
ineffective because they have a low coefficient of fric-
tion when wet.

Signs and Stripping
Safety signs to remind people of slip, trip and fall
hazards are certainly always helpful, particularly
where hazards cannot be removed or corrected. Such
signs should be frequently changed. Recent evidence
indicates that humorous warnings are more effective
than simple warning signs: "Caution Wet Floor"
is less effective than "Wet Floor Skate, Don't Slip".









Workers climbing or descending a fixed ladder
should have both hands free. Small tools can be car-
ried in a tool belt; other tools and materials should
be raised by rope and pulleys or some other mechan-
ical system.

Fall Protective Devices
Workers at high elevations, such as on ladders,
platforms, or catwalks, should be protected from
falling by some kind of fall protective device (Figure
12). This can be a cage, lifeline, lanyard, safety belt
or harness; there are numerous devices on the mar-
ket. The system should provide maximum protection,
but it also should be reasonably comfortable and not
restrict a worker's necessary work activity. Suppliers
of safety equipment can provide information on the
correct system for your workplace and should provide
instruction on its safe use.



/ ..!


Figure 12. Use fall protective devices when working at high
elevations.

Slip-resistant Materials
Abrasive coatings can be applied to concrete, metal
and wood surfaces to increase the coefficient of fric-
tion and reduce the risk of slips and falls. Many of


these products can be applied like paint; others can
be troweled on in a thin coat. These coatings are
formulated to resist grease, oil, water and a wide
range of chemicals. Most paint and building supply
companies handle these materials. It is important,
however, to purchase the correct product for your
particular problem. Many of these products are
enamels or epoxies which contain a rough, hard,
gritty material with a high coefficient of friction.
There are also a number of skid-resistant products
that can be purchased in strips or rolls. These may
have a pressure-sensitive backing or be applied with
a special glue. They are designed for easy application
to stair treads, ramps and other hazardous walking
and working surfaces. Their effectiveness decreases
with wear; therefore, they do require maintenance
and periodic replacement.


Figure 13. There are a variety of skidresistant materials which
can reduce the risk of slips and falls.
Mats are another effective skid-resistant product
useful in wet and slippery areas.(Figure 13) Among
the more effective products are utility slip mats. They
are made from thick continuous strips of rubberized
fabric. They are long-wearing and provide a high
coefficient of friction on both the top and bottom
sides. Hard rubber, or hard rubber-like mats, are
ineffective because they have a low coefficient of fric-
tion when wet.

Signs and Stripping
Safety signs to remind people of slip, trip and fall
hazards are certainly always helpful, particularly
where hazards cannot be removed or corrected. Such
signs should be frequently changed. Recent evidence
indicates that humorous warnings are more effective
than simple warning signs: "Caution Wet Floor"
is less effective than "Wet Floor Skate, Don't Slip".









Workers climbing or descending a fixed ladder
should have both hands free. Small tools can be car-
ried in a tool belt; other tools and materials should
be raised by rope and pulleys or some other mechan-
ical system.

Fall Protective Devices
Workers at high elevations, such as on ladders,
platforms, or catwalks, should be protected from
falling by some kind of fall protective device (Figure
12). This can be a cage, lifeline, lanyard, safety belt
or harness; there are numerous devices on the mar-
ket. The system should provide maximum protection,
but it also should be reasonably comfortable and not
restrict a worker's necessary work activity. Suppliers
of safety equipment can provide information on the
correct system for your workplace and should provide
instruction on its safe use.



/ ..!


Figure 12. Use fall protective devices when working at high
elevations.

Slip-resistant Materials
Abrasive coatings can be applied to concrete, metal
and wood surfaces to increase the coefficient of fric-
tion and reduce the risk of slips and falls. Many of


these products can be applied like paint; others can
be troweled on in a thin coat. These coatings are
formulated to resist grease, oil, water and a wide
range of chemicals. Most paint and building supply
companies handle these materials. It is important,
however, to purchase the correct product for your
particular problem. Many of these products are
enamels or epoxies which contain a rough, hard,
gritty material with a high coefficient of friction.
There are also a number of skid-resistant products
that can be purchased in strips or rolls. These may
have a pressure-sensitive backing or be applied with
a special glue. They are designed for easy application
to stair treads, ramps and other hazardous walking
and working surfaces. Their effectiveness decreases
with wear; therefore, they do require maintenance
and periodic replacement.


Figure 13. There are a variety of skidresistant materials which
can reduce the risk of slips and falls.
Mats are another effective skid-resistant product
useful in wet and slippery areas.(Figure 13) Among
the more effective products are utility slip mats. They
are made from thick continuous strips of rubberized
fabric. They are long-wearing and provide a high
coefficient of friction on both the top and bottom
sides. Hard rubber, or hard rubber-like mats, are
ineffective because they have a low coefficient of fric-
tion when wet.

Signs and Stripping
Safety signs to remind people of slip, trip and fall
hazards are certainly always helpful, particularly
where hazards cannot be removed or corrected. Such
signs should be frequently changed. Recent evidence
indicates that humorous warnings are more effective
than simple warning signs: "Caution Wet Floor"
is less effective than "Wet Floor Skate, Don't Slip".









These signs should also be frequently changed.
Yellow striping to identify walking and working
areas are only effective if their meaning is enforced.
Striped areas mean that no object should be placed
there. Dropped and spilled materials should be re-
moved immediately.

Learning How to Fall
Naturally, the goal is not to slip, trip and fall -
but the possibility of a fall still exists. There are
correct ways to fall. The recommended procedures
are:
1. Tuck your chin in, turn your head and throw an
arm up. It is better to land on your arm than
on your head.
2. While falling, twist or roll your body to the side.
It is better to land on your buttocks and side
than on your back.
3. Keep your wrists, elbows and knees bent. Don't
try to break the fall with your hand or elbow.
The objective, when falling, is to have as many
square inches of your body contact the surface
as possible, thus spreading out the impact of the
fall.

More About Shoes and Boots
According to the National Safety Council, there
are 110,000 injuries each year to the feet and toes
of U.S. workers, representing 19 percent of all disabl-
ing work injuries.
The best protection is to wear the proper footwear
for your work and environment. In most agricultural
occupations, shoes or boots should provide three
major types of protection: the soles and heels should
be slip-resistant; the toe of the shoe should resist
crushing injuries; and the shoe should support the
ankle.
The American National Standard Institute (ANSI)
sets certain standards for work shoes and boots;
never purchase work shoes that do not meet these
standards. A typical ANSI rating could be 1-75 C-25.
This means the toe will withstand 75 foot pounds of
impact and 2,500 pounds of compression.
Chevron or cleated-designed soles are recom-
mended for slippery situations because of the suction
or squeezing action they provide. Softer soles are
better for slippery indoor conditions; harder, more
rugged cleated-type soles are preferred for tough out-
door use (Figure 14).
Leather for the over-the-foot-and-ankle portion of
the foot is preferred in most work environments.
However, when working in wet environments or
around chemicals, oils, greases or pesticides, boots
made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a blend of PVC


and polyurethane, or neoprene should be used. Rub-
ber is satisfactory for wet conditions, but not with
pesticides or petroleum products.


Figure 14. Quality work shoes with soft, skid- or slip-soles and
heels are your best protection against slips, trips
and falls.
It is best to purchase work shoes or boots from a
reputable dealer who handles quality items. If the
dealer is informed of your work and its environment,
he will be able to provide the correct footwear for
you. Quality footwear for work is expensive; but not
nearly as expensive or painful as broken foot bones
or other injuries from a slip, trip or fall.

Recommendations
Implement established policies and practices to
significantly reduce the number of injuries and
deaths due to slips, trips and falls. The following
recommendations are provided for your consider-
ation:
1. Owners, managers, supervisors and workers
must all make a commitment to prevent acciden-
tal slips, trips and falls.
2. Regular frequent inspections of working and
walking areas should be conducted to identify
environmental and equipment hazards which
could cause slips, trips and falls. Special atten-
tion should be given to working and walking
surfaces, housekeeping, lighting, vision, stair-
ways and ladders. Immediate corrective action
should be taken.
3. Extensive safety training on the prevention of
slips, trips and falls should be provided for all
new employees. Regular retraining should be
provided for all employees. Special attention
should be given to proper walking, carrying, and
the climbing and descending of stairways, lad-
ders, vehicles and equipment. Unsafe practices
should be corrected immediately.
4. All workers should wear proper footwear for
their work and environment, whether office,
shop, plant, feedlot or field.
5. No riders should be permitted on tractors, trucks
or other self-powered or towed equipment unless
a safe seat or work station is provided.









These signs should also be frequently changed.
Yellow striping to identify walking and working
areas are only effective if their meaning is enforced.
Striped areas mean that no object should be placed
there. Dropped and spilled materials should be re-
moved immediately.

Learning How to Fall
Naturally, the goal is not to slip, trip and fall -
but the possibility of a fall still exists. There are
correct ways to fall. The recommended procedures
are:
1. Tuck your chin in, turn your head and throw an
arm up. It is better to land on your arm than
on your head.
2. While falling, twist or roll your body to the side.
It is better to land on your buttocks and side
than on your back.
3. Keep your wrists, elbows and knees bent. Don't
try to break the fall with your hand or elbow.
The objective, when falling, is to have as many
square inches of your body contact the surface
as possible, thus spreading out the impact of the
fall.

More About Shoes and Boots
According to the National Safety Council, there
are 110,000 injuries each year to the feet and toes
of U.S. workers, representing 19 percent of all disabl-
ing work injuries.
The best protection is to wear the proper footwear
for your work and environment. In most agricultural
occupations, shoes or boots should provide three
major types of protection: the soles and heels should
be slip-resistant; the toe of the shoe should resist
crushing injuries; and the shoe should support the
ankle.
The American National Standard Institute (ANSI)
sets certain standards for work shoes and boots;
never purchase work shoes that do not meet these
standards. A typical ANSI rating could be 1-75 C-25.
This means the toe will withstand 75 foot pounds of
impact and 2,500 pounds of compression.
Chevron or cleated-designed soles are recom-
mended for slippery situations because of the suction
or squeezing action they provide. Softer soles are
better for slippery indoor conditions; harder, more
rugged cleated-type soles are preferred for tough out-
door use (Figure 14).
Leather for the over-the-foot-and-ankle portion of
the foot is preferred in most work environments.
However, when working in wet environments or
around chemicals, oils, greases or pesticides, boots
made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a blend of PVC


and polyurethane, or neoprene should be used. Rub-
ber is satisfactory for wet conditions, but not with
pesticides or petroleum products.


Figure 14. Quality work shoes with soft, skid- or slip-soles and
heels are your best protection against slips, trips
and falls.
It is best to purchase work shoes or boots from a
reputable dealer who handles quality items. If the
dealer is informed of your work and its environment,
he will be able to provide the correct footwear for
you. Quality footwear for work is expensive; but not
nearly as expensive or painful as broken foot bones
or other injuries from a slip, trip or fall.

Recommendations
Implement established policies and practices to
significantly reduce the number of injuries and
deaths due to slips, trips and falls. The following
recommendations are provided for your consider-
ation:
1. Owners, managers, supervisors and workers
must all make a commitment to prevent acciden-
tal slips, trips and falls.
2. Regular frequent inspections of working and
walking areas should be conducted to identify
environmental and equipment hazards which
could cause slips, trips and falls. Special atten-
tion should be given to working and walking
surfaces, housekeeping, lighting, vision, stair-
ways and ladders. Immediate corrective action
should be taken.
3. Extensive safety training on the prevention of
slips, trips and falls should be provided for all
new employees. Regular retraining should be
provided for all employees. Special attention
should be given to proper walking, carrying, and
the climbing and descending of stairways, lad-
ders, vehicles and equipment. Unsafe practices
should be corrected immediately.
4. All workers should wear proper footwear for
their work and environment, whether office,
shop, plant, feedlot or field.
5. No riders should be permitted on tractors, trucks
or other self-powered or towed equipment unless
a safe seat or work station is provided.









These signs should also be frequently changed.
Yellow striping to identify walking and working
areas are only effective if their meaning is enforced.
Striped areas mean that no object should be placed
there. Dropped and spilled materials should be re-
moved immediately.

Learning How to Fall
Naturally, the goal is not to slip, trip and fall -
but the possibility of a fall still exists. There are
correct ways to fall. The recommended procedures
are:
1. Tuck your chin in, turn your head and throw an
arm up. It is better to land on your arm than
on your head.
2. While falling, twist or roll your body to the side.
It is better to land on your buttocks and side
than on your back.
3. Keep your wrists, elbows and knees bent. Don't
try to break the fall with your hand or elbow.
The objective, when falling, is to have as many
square inches of your body contact the surface
as possible, thus spreading out the impact of the
fall.

More About Shoes and Boots
According to the National Safety Council, there
are 110,000 injuries each year to the feet and toes
of U.S. workers, representing 19 percent of all disabl-
ing work injuries.
The best protection is to wear the proper footwear
for your work and environment. In most agricultural
occupations, shoes or boots should provide three
major types of protection: the soles and heels should
be slip-resistant; the toe of the shoe should resist
crushing injuries; and the shoe should support the
ankle.
The American National Standard Institute (ANSI)
sets certain standards for work shoes and boots;
never purchase work shoes that do not meet these
standards. A typical ANSI rating could be 1-75 C-25.
This means the toe will withstand 75 foot pounds of
impact and 2,500 pounds of compression.
Chevron or cleated-designed soles are recom-
mended for slippery situations because of the suction
or squeezing action they provide. Softer soles are
better for slippery indoor conditions; harder, more
rugged cleated-type soles are preferred for tough out-
door use (Figure 14).
Leather for the over-the-foot-and-ankle portion of
the foot is preferred in most work environments.
However, when working in wet environments or
around chemicals, oils, greases or pesticides, boots
made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a blend of PVC


and polyurethane, or neoprene should be used. Rub-
ber is satisfactory for wet conditions, but not with
pesticides or petroleum products.


Figure 14. Quality work shoes with soft, skid- or slip-soles and
heels are your best protection against slips, trips
and falls.
It is best to purchase work shoes or boots from a
reputable dealer who handles quality items. If the
dealer is informed of your work and its environment,
he will be able to provide the correct footwear for
you. Quality footwear for work is expensive; but not
nearly as expensive or painful as broken foot bones
or other injuries from a slip, trip or fall.

Recommendations
Implement established policies and practices to
significantly reduce the number of injuries and
deaths due to slips, trips and falls. The following
recommendations are provided for your consider-
ation:
1. Owners, managers, supervisors and workers
must all make a commitment to prevent acciden-
tal slips, trips and falls.
2. Regular frequent inspections of working and
walking areas should be conducted to identify
environmental and equipment hazards which
could cause slips, trips and falls. Special atten-
tion should be given to working and walking
surfaces, housekeeping, lighting, vision, stair-
ways and ladders. Immediate corrective action
should be taken.
3. Extensive safety training on the prevention of
slips, trips and falls should be provided for all
new employees. Regular retraining should be
provided for all employees. Special attention
should be given to proper walking, carrying, and
the climbing and descending of stairways, lad-
ders, vehicles and equipment. Unsafe practices
should be corrected immediately.
4. All workers should wear proper footwear for
their work and environment, whether office,
shop, plant, feedlot or field.
5. No riders should be permitted on tractors, trucks
or other self-powered or towed equipment unless
a safe seat or work station is provided.









6. All slips, trips and falls, with or without injury,
should be reported, recorded and thoroughly in-
vestigated. Corrective action to prevent such a
repeat occurrence should be taken immediately.
Slips, trips and falls, on-or off-the-job, are expen-
sive, disruptive, painful, and may be tragic. DO THE
JOB RIGHT DO IT SAFELY!

Bibliography
Accident Facts, 1988 Edition, National Safety Coun-
cil, pp 32-45.
Dutton, Cheryl. "Make Foot Protection a Hit", Safety
and Health, Vol. 138, No. 5, November, 1988. pp
30-33.
Ellis, J. Nigel and Howard B. Lewis. Introduction to
Fall Protection. American Society of Safety En-
gineers, 1988.
Goldsmith, Aaron. "Natural Walking, Unnatural
Falls", Safety and Health. Vol. 138, No. 5, De-
cember, 1988. pp 44-47.


McElroy, Frank. (Editor) Accident Prevention Man-
ual for Industrial Operations. Seventh Edition,
National Safety Council. 1980.
Parker, Donald (Editor). Safety and Health Factors
in Slips and Falls, U.S. Department of Labor,
OSHA, Office of Training and Education. 1988.
(This is a 80 slide-tape-script program available
from the National Audio Visual Center, 8700
Edgeworth Drive, Capital Heights, MD 20743-
3701).
Peter, Robert. "Fallsafe: Reducing Injuries From
Slips and Falls", Professional Safety, Vol. 30,
No. 10. October, 1985. pp 15-18.
Peter, Robert. "How to Prevent Falling Injuries",
National Safety and Health News, Vol. 132, No.
4. October, 1985. pp 87-91.
Strachta, Bruce J. "Keep Fall Costs Down", Safety
and Health, Vol. 135, No. 4, April, 1987. pp 30-32.
Waller, Julian A. Injury Control: A Guide to the
Causes and Prevention of Trauma. Lexington
Books. 1985.






































































This publication was produced at a cost of $947.50, or 38.0 cents per copy, to reduce the number of injuries
and deaths due to slips, trips and falls at work and at home. 05-2.5M-90


COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES, John T.
Woeste, director, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this information to further the purpose of the
May 8 and June 30, 1914 Acts of Congress; and is authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to
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