Slips trips and falls at work

Don't Fall Down on the Job

Now that you're thinking about slips, trips and falls, here's some information specifically about being safe in your workplace. If you're the safety expert for your employer you may also want to check out this resource from BWC.

A slip or trip happens when you lose traction, and often results in a fall. That seems basic, but it's important to remember if you're going to try to prevent it from happening.

Click on the boxes for tips.


A slip or trip occurs when you lose traction. The unfortunate result of that is often a fall. That seems basic, but it's important to remember if you're going to try and reduce the chance of it happening.

Click on the boxes for tips.

Address common causes

Be aware of and address common causes of slips, trips and falls:

  • Slippery surfaces (wet, oily, icy, granules/powder)
  • Hoses or cords stretched across aisles or walkways
  • Cluttered aisles or work areas
  • Improper footwear
  • Uneven surfaces (including cracks or holes)
  • Poor lighting

Falls can also occur where there's a significant difference in heights. This can include:

  • Reaching too far on a ladder
  • A ladder sliding out from its base
  • Falling from a stairway
  • Falling from a platform or scaffold
  • Falling through floor and roof openings
  • Falling from trucks and trailers
  • Losing your balance while standing on a box or chair
  • Jumping down vs. the three-points rule

Use the three-points rule

The three-points rule means that both feet and at least one hand, or both hands and at least one foot, are in contact with a solid surface (like a ladder or a platform) while climbing up or down.

Avoid accidents

  • Take responsibility for your own safety
  • Address safety issues when you see them
  • Make housekeeping everyone's responsibility
  • Keep work areas clean and remove hazards such as extension cords and hoses from walkways
  • Let management know if light bulbs are burned out

Beware of elevated surfaces

  • Get properly trained and follow safe work practices when working on elevated surfaces.
  • Use standard guard railing for any work done above 4 feet, or 6 feet for construction.
  • Maintain and repair bases and railings of portable stairways, ladders and scaffolds.
  • Only use scissors lifts after reading and following manufacturer directions. Never operate without guardrails and consider fall-prevention equipment, such as a full body harness and a lanyard connected to a manufacturer's approved anchorage point.
  • For other lifts, such as boom lifts, a restraint system is still recommended. If working above a certain height, fall protection is required. Always follow manufacturer directions.
  • An employer may comply with OSHA's fall protection requirements for aerial lifts in one of three ways:
    • Use of a body belt with a tether anchored to the boom or basket (fall restraint system);
    • Use of a body harness with a tether (fall restraint system);
    • Use of a body harness with a lanyard (fall arrest system).
  • Firmly attach lift truck safety cages to the mast, have a solid floor and standard guard railing. Do not perform work outside the railing without using a restraint.
  • Order pickers should use the manufacturer's provided equipment and remain within the platform provided.