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Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls in all Workplaces

Safe At Work Ontario

Slips, trips and falls are some of the leading causes of lost-time injuries at work in Ontario. They can occur at any workplace. Almost 20 per cent of all lost-time injury claims in Ontario involve slips, trips and falls.

Preventing such injuries should be a key goal of every safe and healthy workplace. In safe and healthy workplaces, employers:

  • Advise and train workers about risks in their job and in the workplace
  • Encourage workers to participate in the workplace's health and safety program through reporting of slip, trip and fall hazards
  • Identify and assess job-related hazards
  • Establish controls to reduce workers' exposure to slip, trip and fall hazards
  • Ensure that preventive measures are working

Ministry of Labour inspectors focus on workplace hazards, including those which may result in slips, trips and falls. They may take enforcement action if they find violations of the OHSA and its regulations.

Common hazards

Consider the following slip, trip and fall hazards in your workplace:

  • Slippery surfaces (e.g., oily or greasy)
  • Seasonal trip hazards (snow and ice)
  • Spills of wet or dry substances
  • Changes in walkway levels and slopes
  • Unsecured mats
  • Poor lighting
  • Debris and items stored in walkways
  • Trailing cables in pedestrian walkways
  • Smoke, steam or dust obscuring view
  • Unsuitable footwear

Controlling hazards

When establishing safe work practices for your workplace, consider:

  • Characteristics of physical work area
  • Weather conditions (snow, ice, rain)
  • Tasks performed
  • Workers' work practices
  • Equipment

Some methods for controlling hazards leading to slips, trips and falls include:

Engineering controls

  • Type of flooring
  • Slope of surface (ramps, handrails)
  • Surface free of obstructions/holes
  • Drainage
  • Lighting levels, non-glare, contrast
  • Equipment for front-line workers (mop, shovel)
  • Signage
  • Sufficient space
  • Minimizing environmental influences, e.g., blocking wind to prevent wet surfaces icing at entrances

Administrative controls

  • Training workers
  • Safe practices such as a procedure for cleaning spills or requirement for two workers to transport a large cart that one worker cannot see around
  • Reporting hazards
  • Prompt maintenance
  • Job design (identifying tasks requiring excessive pushing/pulling, line-of-sight obstruction)
  • Equipment readily available, e.g., shovels, mops, buckets
  • Addressing poor work practices
  • Joint Health and Safety Committee monthly inspections
  • Review slips, trips and same-level fall hazards

Housekeeping

  • Clean spills
  • Remove debris, snow and ice
  • Routinely clean floors thoroughly
  • Clean castors on wheeled carts
  • Provide mats

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Appropriate footwear for task, which may include appropriate heels, soles and anti-slip boots

Remember

We all have the right to work in a safe and healthy environment. A strong occupational health and safety culture requires all workplace parties to adhere to the OHSA and its regulations and to pay constant, appropriate attention to workplace health and safety issues.

More information

Call 1-877-202-0008 any time to report critical injuries, fatalities or work refusals.

Call 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday for general inquiries about workplace health and safety. In an emergency, always call 911.