It may make for comedy fodder, but in real life, slips, trips and falls are no laughing matter. Slips, trips, and falls are often misunderstood and incorporated poorly into building designs. According to the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety's 2014 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, Falls (on same level) account for 15.4% of all workplace injuries. The direct compensation cost for these same injuries in 2012 was a staggering $9.19 billion. It is the second leading cause of worker injuries in the United States.

Through years of consulting with various customers, I have had success with reducing overall slips, trips, and falls for workers and guests. Recently I had success with two restaurant customers in reducing slips, trips, and falls to their employees and guests. In the following pages, I will:

  • Review a holistic approach to slip, trip, fall prevention;

  • Discuss causes and mechanisms of slips, trips, and falls;

  • Understand the importance of a formal prevention program; and

  • Identify common solutions related to slips, trips, and falls.

Throughout, I will discuss how the two organizations used this information to strengthen their safety program specifically to address slips, trips, and falls.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

As previously mentioned, same-level slips, trips, and falls are the second leading cause of worker injuries in the United States. Slips, trips, and falls account for 15.4% of all workplace injuries and $9.19 billion in compensation costs. Further, it can be assumed that some injuries related to slips, trips, falls (same level) are classified under other causes in the study such as "bodily reaction." Additionally, slips, trips, falls to a lower level accounted for $5.12 billion and 8.6% of injuries.

Interestingly, according to a 2001 Liberty Mutual Executive Survey of Workplace Safety, business executives perceive slips, trips, falls (same level) to be a less serious concern. During the study, executives were asked to rate the perceived causes of losses. The survey indicated that executives felt falls were the seventh cause overall, while in fact, they are the second leading cause.

While the statistics above indicate a serious issue in the workplace, we must also be concerned about falls occurring to guests within restaurant environments. Countrywide data for guest incidents is harder to obtain, but evaluating losses for older adults gives an indication of associated costs.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.