Course 624 - Healthcare: Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Tools and Resources

Know Your Healthcare Facility's STF History

records

You should be familiar with your healthcare facilities STF history. Review your healthcare facility's historical injury records for STF incidents. Obtain copies of and check workers’ compensation claims, incident reports, first report of employee injury, OSHA and/or occupational health nurse logs.

Read the narrative descriptions of the incidents to identify what types of STFs are most common in your healthcare facility and to identify specific locations where multiple STFs or “injury hot spots” may have happened over the years. When a STF incident occurs, carefully examine the circumstances of the incident to see where prevention measures can be implemented.

Click here to view a checklist to help identify STFs in your facility.

1. Why is it important to review your healthcare facilities history of slips, trips, and falls?

a. To look smart to your employer
b. Brag to your coworkers
c. Eliminate OSHA fines
d. To see where prevention measures can be implemented

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Risk Assessment

You must manage the health and safety risks in your workplace. To do this you need to decide whether you are doing enough to prevent harm. This process is known as a risk assessment and it is something you are required by law to carry out.

A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork, but rather about taking sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace (for example using doormats to stop rainwater being tracked in and making the floor slippery.)

You are probably already taking steps to protect your employees, but your risk assessment will tell you whether you should be doing more. Consider what risks in your workplace may lead to slip or trip injuries, and decide what suitable and effective control measures will prevent these types of accidents.

You then need to put these control measures into practice. Concentrate on the real risks – those that are most likely to cause harm. Think about how accidents could happen and who might be harmed. You can do this in the following ways:

  • Ask your employees what they think the hazards are, as they may notice things that are not obvious to you and may have some good ideas on how to control the risks.

Make a record of your significant findings and what you have in place to prevent them. Hazards should be photographed, described, and kept on file so changes can be made and documented. It is also helpful to list a person responsible for fixing the hazard and a targeted completion date in your paperwork.

Few workplaces stay the same, so it makes sense to review what you are doing on an ongoing basis.

2. You must take measures to protect the health and safety of your workplace. What is this process known as?

a. Risk assessment
b. Administrative controls
c. Engineering controls
d. Elimination

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Employee Training and Involvement

All healthcare facility employees are at risk, therefore, all employees should be trained on how to recognize STF hazards, and be involved in the development and implementation of prevention strategies.

It is important to have written housekeeping procedures that require all employees (including direct patient care staff such as nurses) to immediately report spills/snow/ice etc. to initiate a prompt response by the housekeeping or facilities departments.

Below are some things to be aware of when training employees:

  • Make cleaning and safety supplies and products easily accessible to all staff.
  • Incorporate slip, trip, and fall awareness and prevention into routine safety training.
  • Conduct general awareness campaigns within the healthcare facility (i.e., booths, posters, emails, paycheck inserts, and incentives) educating employees about the risk of STFs at work and what they can do to prevent injuries.
    • Consider making key chains or something employees can carry with them that have emergency numbers for housekeeping to quickly report floor contaminations or hazards.
  • Reinforce the use of prevention equipment (handrails and appropriate footwear for example) frequently with staff.
  • Track success: Provide feedback to employees on how the facility is doing with regard to STF injury rates.

Healthcare facilities should educate all employees on the seriousness of slip and fall accidents and inform them of any hazards specific to their industry. When employees know the causes of slips and falls and understand the technical components including types of flooring and types of treatments, they too can help to recognize, evaluate, and control hazards.

3. ______ should be involved in the development and implementation of STF prevention strategies.

a. OSHA
b. Employees
c. Patients
d. Visitors

Next Section

STF Prevention Program

In 2008, a National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study found that when implementing a slip, trip, and fall prevention program, it reduces STF injuries and workers’ compensation claims.

Elements of a slip, trip, and fall prevention program should include:

  1. Plan: Identify key risk areas and set goals for improvement.
  2. Organize: Involve workers and assign responsibilities so they are committed to the process.
  3. Worksite analysis: Assess the risk to employees, to visitors, and to the public. Periodically review to be sure all hazards are addressed.
  4. Hazard prevention and control: Ensure work practices and processes are being carried out properly and that they are being monitored.
  5. Safety and health training: Provide essential training at all levels, including management.
  6. Take control: Establish policies and procedures to reduce the number of injuries.

4. Which of the following elements of an effective STF Prevention Program is important to identify key risk areas and set goals for improvement?

a. Organize
b. Plan
c. Analysis
d. Take control

Check your Work

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Final Exam
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