Human Resources Policies
Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention Policy

Category: Health and Safety
Sub-Category: General

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Policy Statement

Canada-wide, approximately 60,000 workers get injured annually due to falls, with approximately 17,000 occurring in Ontario. More than 20% of all lost time injuries to City employees each year result from slips, trips and falls. Slips, trips and falls can also cause harm to members of the public who are clients of City programs and services. The City is committed to:

  • identifying factors that contribute to slips, trips and falls in City workplaces
  • taking reasonable precautions to prevent introduction of slip, trip and fall hazards into City workplaces and to eliminate/reduce slips, trips and fall hazards where they are identified
  • educating staff on measures that will reduce the risks of slips, trips and falls

Purpose of the Prevention of Slips, Trips and Falls Policy and Associated Guidelines and Tools:

The policy assigns responsibility with respect to:

  1. Conducting risk assessments to determine risk of employee exposure to slip, trip and fall hazards
  2. Putting in place measures and procedures (e.g. inspections, appropriate footwear, housekeeping practices) for employee protection
  3. Communicating with employees measures and procedures that are established and their role in achieving and maintaining a workplace free of slip, trip and fall hazards
  4. Following measures and procedures that are established
  5. Evaluating the measures and procedures that are established to determine their effectiveness

The associated tool kit provides additional information to assist divisions in:

  1. Developing programs to prevent and minimize slips, trips and fall hazards in their work operations and locations
  2. Communicating with employees with respect to prevention of slips, trips and falls

Application

This policy applies to all City divisions (and employees) where employees may be exposed to slip, trip and fall hazards in the course of their work activities. It is understood that the City does not always control the work environment in which employees may be subjected to slip, trip and fall hazards. In such cases, efforts will be made to identify and implement appropriate measures (e.g. provision of supplies and/or equipment appropriate to the circumstances such as salt, sand or footwear attachments; employee education) to minimize risk to the extent possible.

Definitions

Slip

A slide causing an individual to lose their balance. This can either be corrected or cause the individual to fall. Slips happen when there is too little friction or traction between the footwear and the walking surface. Common causes of slips are:

  • Wet or oily surfaces
  • Occasional spills
  • Weather hazards
  • Loose, unanchored rugs or mats
  • Flooring or other walking surfaces that do not have the same degree of traction in all areas

Trip

A stumble, often over an obstacle, causing an individual to lose their balance. This can either be corrected or cause the individual to fall. Trips happen when the foot strikes or hits an object. Common causes of tripping are:

  • Obstructed view
  • Poor lighting
  • Clutter in the path of travel
  • Wrinkled carpeting
  • Uncovered cables
  • Bottom drawers not being closed
  • Uneven walking surfaces

Fall

An event that results in an individual or a body part coming into contact with the ground or other surface that is lower than the individual. Falls can occur at same level (e.g. to the floor or ground on which the person was previously standing) or to a lower level (e.g. down a flight of stairs or through an opening). Falls often, although not always, result from slips or trips.


Responsibilities

Division heads will:

  • Ensure that management/supervisory staff, workers and joint health and safety committees/health and safety representatives are made aware of this policy
  • Provide leadership and support to ensure the implementation of this policy
  • Ensure that procurement of products, equipment, etc, is consistent with divisional needs in prevention of slips, trips, and falls

Those with management/ supervisory responsibilities will:

  • Ensure that the Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention Policy will be brought to the attention of those employees who report to them (e.g. through safety talks, team meetings, tailgate sessions, lunch and learns, etc)
  • Ensure suitable and sufficient risk assessments are undertaken and reviewed for the risks of slips, trips and falls within their areas of responsibility (e.g. regularly and as circumstances change)
  • Implement appropriate measures within their control to address slip, trip or fall hazards
  • Refer actions that are outside of their direct control to others, to ensure that identified slip, trip or fall hazards can be addressed (e.g. through work orders, escalation to other levels of management, etc)
  • Ensure that the workplace is regularly inspected for slip, trip and fall hazards
  • Ensure that prompt action is taken to address any potential or identified hazards that may contribute to the occurrence of slips, trips and falls (e.g. repair any damaged or broken surfaces, clean up spills, mitigate snow or ice on surfaces)
  • Follow up on all incidents, accidents and near misses associated with slips, trips and falls to investigate their cause and to identify any needed changes to preventative/control measures or procedures
  • Keep records of key activities undertaken to minimize the likelihood of slips, trips and falls (e.g. cleaning/maintenance schedules, such as floor stripping)
  • Complete Safety Footwear Needs Analysis, as necessary, to determine whether protective footwear is needed in the performance of jobs and/or tasks. Where a need for protective footwear is identified, provide the appropriate category of footwear and arrange for footwear replacement, when required.
  • Provide appropriate equipment, work procedures, personal protective equipment and training to protect workers from risk of falling from heights (e.g. fall restraint/fall arrest systems, ladder safety)

Workers will:

  • Take actions to eliminate slip, trip and fall hazards if able to do so
  • Be vigilant and ensure that any slip, trip and fall hazards they are aware of are reported to their supervisors
  • Organize areas of their work environment within their control so as not to introduce slip, trip and fall hazards (e.g. trailing cables, open drawers, poor housekeeping)
  • Where protective footwear is provided, ensure they wear the footwear and other personal protective equipment for the work environment(s) in which they work and advise supervisors when footwear is no longer in a state of good repair (e.g. worn treads) and needs replacement
  • When protective footwear is not required, wear personal footwear appropriate to the job and tasks performed
  • Exercise caution during wet, slippery conditions and in the use of steps and stairs
  • Follow any training and slip, trip, and fall safe working procedures appropriate footwear

Those City staff who design facilities will:

In consultation with users and those who are responsible for ongoing maintenance:

  • Ensure that facilities are designed with appropriate flooring for the type of work operation/activity to be conducted within the facility
  • Ensure that other aspects of the facilities are designed to minimize or eliminate the risk of slips, trips and falls (e.g. with canopies over external doorways to prevent the collection of water at a building entrance, with appropriate lighting to enable detection of hazards without creating glare on walking surfaces, with stairs with appropriate rises, runs and railings, without obstructions in the regular path of travel, etc)

Those with facilities management responsibilities will:

  • Match floor cleaning and maintenance procedures with manufacturer's instructions or accepted industry practices for type of floor surface
  • Follow appropriate procedures to minimize risks from wet cleaning
  • Maintain surfaces free of hazards or obstructions, or clearly identify the presence of hazards or obstructions if elimination is not possible or feasible (e.g. through use of barriers or signage)
  • Ensure that prompt action is taken to address any potential or identified hazards that may contribute to the occurrence of slips, trips and falls (e.g. repair any damaged or broken surfaces, clean up spills, mitigate snow or ice on surfaces)

Those responsible for purchasing equipment (e.g. footwear and attachments, fall protection equipment, etc) will:

  • Consult with divisions to enable their slip, trip, and fall hazards to be addressed

People Equity & Human Rights (PEHR) - Occupational Health and Safety will:

  • Assist in the selection of personal protective equipment
  • Assist in the design and/or delivery of training or other instructional/information-sharing mechanisms
  • Assist with the implementation of the policy and the development of safe work procedures
  • Assist with proper reporting/notification of incidents to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and Ministry of Labour, as needed
  • Keep statistics on incidents and injuries to assist in planning prevention strategies, and communicate to client divisions as needed (e.g. management, JHSC/H&S reps, workers, etc)

Joint Health and Safety Committees/Health and Safety Representatives will:

  • Incorporate identification of slip, trip and fall hazards into their workplace inspection reports
  • Review incident and accident reports to assess injury trends with respect to slips, trips and falls
  • Make recommendations for the development of, or improvements to, existing slip, trip, and fall prevention programs (e.g. safe work procedures, training, equipment, etc) as needed

The Occupational Health and Safety Coordinating Committee will:

  • Regularly review this policy and associated tool kit and recommend amendments, as needed

Tool Kit


    Occupational Health and Safety Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. 0.1)

Approved by

  • Occupational Health and Safety Coordinating Committee – December 6, 2011
  • City Manager – February 9, 2012

Date Approved

February 9, 2012

Reviewed by OHSCC

September 29, 2015


Related links - external


Attachments

Slips and Trips Hazard Checklist.doc (122 Kbytes)
SafetyTalk - slips,trips,falls.doc (40 Kbytes)
Slip Trip & Fall Links.doc (28 Kbytes)
Slips,Trips,Falls Prevention Presentation.ppt (8013 Kbytes)
Tips for Safely Entering orExiting Vehicles_processed FINAL-s.pdf (82 Kbytes)
Winter Safety Tips_processed FINAL-s.pdf (83 Kbytes)
Slips and Trips Hazard Checklist_processed FINAL-s.pdf (176 Kbytes)
Ladder Safety_processed FINAL-s.pdf (91 Kbytes)
Measures to Minimize Slip andFall Risks from Floor Cleaning_processed F....pdf (94 Kbytes)
SafetyTalk - slips,trips,falls_processed FINAL-s.pdf (119 Kbytes)

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