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What is a Trip Hazard and 7 Steps to Avoid One

Workers assessing the job site for trip hazards.

Worker safety is paramount in today’s ultra-competitive and fast-moving working environment. However, job sites expose team members to several risks, few more prevalent than a trip hazard.

Slips, trips, and falls are often common occurrences on the worksite and a cause of injury. Employers must recognize, assess, and remove trip hazards from the workplace to lower the risk of workplace injuries and provide an environment that encourages productive work.

This article defines a trip hazard and discusses seven strategies to identify, assess, and remove one.

What is a Trip Hazard?

A trip hazard occurs when a worker’s foot strikes or lands on something dangerous. These hazards include a sunken or elevated walkway, a sudden rise, a slippery surface, and other conditions.

7 Ways to Prevent a Trip Hazard

1. Remove Obstacles in Walkways

Injuries often occur when workers trip over objects – such as waste, building materials, and equipment – left in designated walkways on the worksite.

The best way to prevent this risk is to support proper cleanliness in busy work and traffic areas, which might include the following steps:

  • Conduct periodic slip and trip hazard
  • Avoid stringing cords, cables, or air hoses across walkways.
  • Keep all work areas clean and orderly.

2. Maintain Floor Safety

Fall protection involves more than just cleaning up spills from the floor. It also entails paying attention to the surfaces’ standards for walking and working.

Changing the floor area can help ensure safety from trips, slips, and falls. The following suggested practices can help businesses improve the quality of their floors:

  • Invest in non-slippery, durable flooring.
  • Set up mats, pressure-sensitive abrasive strips, paint-on coatings with abrasives, and synthetic decking. They offer sufficient friction and lessen foot stress.
  • Regularly check floors for dangers that could cause trips and falls, such as cracks, holes, missing blocks, and uneven surfaces.

3. Wear Proper Shoes

Footwear can have a significant impact on preventing falls, and safety teams should consider the following to avoid trip hazards:

  • The type of heels worn
  • How smooth the bottoms are
  • How the shoelaces are tied

Additionally, when management reviews a fall-related injury, they must assess footwear worn at the time, decide if it played a role in the incidence, and require that workers switch to shoes that are right for the responsibilities of their job.

4. Use Signage

Signage is a valuable warning system for many worksite risks, especially trip hazards. There are two sign types safety teams can use to prevent falls:

  • Temporary signage. Safety teams should establish temporary warning signs while addressing a new trip hazard, such as removing walkway debris, cleaning up a spill, or repairing damaged floors. However, while these short-term signs help prevent injuries, management must address the hazard immediately.
  • Permanent signage: A permanent sign can help warn workers to watch out for unavoidable hazards, such as uneven ground. However, safety teams should use these only when necessary because workers might ignore a cluster of signs or ones they see daily.

5. Ensure Proper Lighting

Workers need to be able to see their surroundings to avoid slips, trips, and falls, and poor lighting on job sites makes that problematic. Safety teams can help make work sites more visible through the following strategies:

  • Repair switches and cords immediately after they stop working.
  • Use sufficient lighting in walkways, hallways, and on staircases and ramps.
  • Clear the area around light switches and ensure they are easily accessible.
  • Instruct workers to turn on the light before entering a dark room.

6. Provide Trip Hazard Training

Educating workers on finding and preventing a trip hazard will help keep them safe, and safety teams should provide them with detailed instructions on the conditions they’ll work in and the dangers they’ll encounter.

Furthermore, management should conduct regular safety meetings or presentations, which are a terrific way to update the team on newly implemented safety measures or to remind them about seasonal concerns.

7. Develop safety plans

All efforts to promote fall prevention, especially in high-risk workplaces, are solidified by a well-thought-out safety strategy, which might include the following steps:

  • Developing safety practices and standards
  • Conducting trip hazard assessments
  • Performing periodic maintenance inspections
  • Studying specifications for safety equipment

Along with these recommendations, safety officers, onsite workers, and authorized staff can hold frequent toolbox discussions about trip hazards. These safety lectures can increase team members’ awareness and highlight the risks involved with their jobs, giving them better protection against accidents caused by slips, trips, and falls.

Preventing Trip Hazards Requires the Best Safety Solutions

In the workplace, trip hazards are relatively common and, unfortunately, can cause severe injuries. Management must do its best to identify and eliminate potential risks to ensure workers perform their duties safely by considering the abovementioned strategies.

The best employees want to work on the job sites of companies that put safety first, and those employers who take these proactive steps to remove hazards demonstrate their concern for workers, contribute to developing a culture of safety that helps everyone involved, and attract better talent.

Consider partnering with us to tailor a solution that helps you create a safer workplace for your workers, customers, and visitors.

Contact us today to learn more.

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