Slip, Trip or Fall

Slip, Trip or Fall

Slip, trip or fall hazards on some jobs, such as working in the derrick, on the rig floor, or on raised decks can be deadly.  The phrase “slip, trip, and fall” may initially seem redundant, but these are three distinct types of safety hazards. All three hazards can result in injury and equipment or property damage.

Slip hazards are created when liquids, ice or other materials interfere with the traction between the floor and a person’s feet. Injuries from slips can include broken bones, back injuries, and bruises. A description of a slip-related accident usually goes like this: “My feet just went out from under me.”

Trip hazards usually involve an inappropriately placed object such as an electrical cord, storage box, pipe or tool. People that trip over something can either fall to the ground or into another object. Even when they catch themselves, they can still suffer broken bones and bruises. Equipment and tools can also be broken.

Falls can be life threatening.  Each year there are many fatal incidents in the industry and numerous workers are injured. A wide range of protections are available, including guardrails, fall arrest systems, safety nets, covers, and travel restriction systems.

Precautions:  Slip, trip and fall protections can be as simple as using a flashlight to see where you are walking to elaborate harness systems for working in the derrick.  As with any workplace hazard, a careful evaluation of the work area to assess the hazards is an important first precaution.

  1. Securely installed hand railings can stabilize a person to prevent slips.
  2. All work areas should be well lit and orderly.
  3. Slip hazards can be prevented by careful material handling and prompt spill clean up.
  4. Proper footwear can reduce the hazard by increasing traction. Footwear should be compatible with any chemicals in the work environment and inspected frequently for wear and breakthrough.  Poorly fitting footwear and over boots can make conditions worse.
  5. Visual inspections of the work area for trip hazards should be routinely performed to eliminate trip hazards. Providing adequate storage space and requiring good housekeeping prevents many trips.
  6. Cones, flags and other warning devices can be used to identify potential trip areas and alert workers to step carefully.
  7. Painting immovable objects a bright color is often successful.
  8. Different circumstances call for different kinds of fall protection.
  • Fall protection appropriate for ladders or stairways, for example, varies from the fall protection required for scaffolding, construction or confined spaces.
  • Careful worksite evaluation and compliance with applicable regulations and industry standards is required.