Preventing Slip, Trip and Fall Injuries for Public Employees in Massachusetts

Slip, trip and fall injuries are the leading type of work-related injury for Massachusetts city and town employees. Putting an active safety program in place can help reduce the prevalence and severity of these work-related injuries.

Types of Slips, Trips and Falls Include:

  • Slipping on a wet or slippery floor.
  • Slipping on ice.
  • Tripping over clutter such as wires, boxes and furniture.
  • Tripping over uneven surfaces such as damaged floors, uneven sidewalks, and potholes.
  • Falling downstairs, falling off ladders, and falling off chairs that were used instead of a ladder.

What Building Managers Can Do: 

Building Inspection:

  • Inspect exterior sidewalks, parking lot and loading docks for uneven surfaces.
  • Inspect exterior walkways for water that drains into the walkway.
  • Inspect entrances for wet floors.
  • Inspect kitchen areas for grease and water drainage.
  • Compare actual floor cleaning products and work practices to desired specifications. Some cleaning products can increase slipperiness of floor finishes.
  • Inspect carpets for loose edges which can cause trips.
  • Inspect offices and classrooms for clutter, loose wires, path obstructions and excessive storage of items.
  • Inspect for proper lighting and handrails in stairwells.

Implement a Culture of Prevention:

Many healthcare and retail settings have dramatically reduced their slip and trip injuries by implementing a culture of prevention among employees.

  • Immediately clean spills.
  • Immediately clear ice and snow.
  • Immediately remove trash from floors.
  • Use wet floor cleaning signs when cleaning floors.
  • Mop one side of a hallway at a time, so pedestrians have a dry path at all times.
  • Install large all-weather floor mats at entrances.
  • Provide mobile step ladders so employees do not stand on furniture to reach things.
  • Repair sidewalk and parking lot surfaces.
  • Repair water drainage issues to keep sidewalks dry.
  • Repair torn or damaged carpet.
  • Discourage clutter and excessive storage in offices and classrooms.
  • Employers may establish a policy for employees to wear slip-resistant shoes.
  • Consult with a custodial services provider to review floor cleaners and floor finishing products so that slip resistance of floors is maintained.

Technical Bulletins:

NIOSH Slip Trip Fall Prevention in Retail 2013 pdf format of NIOSH Slip Trip Fall Prevention in Retail 2013