Slip Hazards and Safety

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Slips, trips, and falls are one of the leading causes of injuries and fatalities in the workplace. According to OSHA, slip, trip, and fall incidents cause 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicle incidents as a cause of fatalities on the job. According to the 2006 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, the annual direct cost of disabling occupational injuries due to slips, trips and falls is estimated to exceed $11 billion.

Causes of Slips

While slips do not cause as serious injuries or the number of fatalities falls do, they are responsible for a large number of costly injuries every year. Addressing the hazards that cause slip incidents should be a focus in the workplace. Slips happen when there is too little friction or traction between the footwear and the walking surface.

Common causes of slips are:

  • slip safety
  • wet or oily surfaces
  • spills
  • poor weather conditions
  • loose, unanchored rugs or mats
  • flooring or other walking surfaces that do not have same degree of traction in all areas

Slip Prevention

Good housekeeping is a basic step in preventing slips in the workplace. Keeping walkways and paths clear of water, snow, ice, oils, etc. is important in preventing slippery conditions that lead to injuries. When considering housekeeping also look for floor mats or other materials that could create a slip hazard. Objects such as pieces of cardboard or wood can cause a person to lose their balance due to the object moving when stepped on. Another important consideration is proper footwear. Footwear with good tread makes better contact with the walking surface which leads to less of a chance of a slip. When there are slippery conditions present that you cannot avoid, take smaller steps or shuffle your feet. Taking larger steps can lead to your balance being thrown off resulting in a slip.


Slip incidents are hard to avoid if there are slippery conditions or other hazards present that cause slips. The key is to eliminate these hazards so individuals are not exposed to them in the first place. If there are no conditions where there is too little friction or traction between an individual’s footwear and the walking surface then there is no slip.

Discussion point:

-What are some hazards that can cause slip incidents in our workplace?

This toolbox topic was reviewed by ______________________________________ on ___________________________ with the following employees: