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Safety Topics


Hospitality - Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls

Slips, trips and falls can be prevented by changing or modifying:


  1. Footwear
  2. Surface
  3. Awareness or behavior


Share this advice with your employees:


Use nonskid shoes and surfaces when available
If you work in an area with slippery surfaces, such as a kitchen or outdoors, wear shoes that have slip-resistant soles. Ask your supervisor about the correct shoe for your job. Keep your shoes free of grease and oil. Placing mats or rough-grade coverings on large walkways helps to minimize falls.

Clean up spills
Slippery surfaces often don't appear dangerous until you happen to step onto them, and then it's too late. Clean up grease, water, and other forms of spills as you notice them. Cover icy and greasy spots with sand, dirt, or some other type of absorbent material. If you don’t know what to use or where it is located, ASK!


Maintain proper lighting
We have all walked though a dark room and banged into a toy, tool, or errant piece of furniture. Inadequate lighting can camouflage what is in your way, so replace light fixtures or bulbs that don't work. Make sure stairwells are brightly lit so you can see the steps properly. When you enter a darkened room, always turn the light on first, even if you’re staying for only a moment. Keep walkways in poorly lit areas clear of obstructions.


Stair safety
Stairs which are too steep or not steep enough have the potential to cause trips and falls. Because it is very easy to lose your footing while climbing stairs, go slowly and be careful of worn or broken steps. Never run up or down stairs, and avoid skipping steps. If you are carrying a load while climbing up or down stairs, hold it so your vision isn’t blocked and keep one hand free, if possible, to grasp the banister or wall railing. If the load you are carrying does require both hands to carry up or down stairs, consider using mechanical assistance, splitting the load, or taking another route.


Maintenance of walking working surfaces 
Keep aisles and surfaces dedicated to foot traffic clear of obstructions and hazards. When setting up, say, for a banquet in a large hall or outside patio where there are many chairs and tables, take care as you navigate around or through the obstacles to clear your path.


Don't be in a hurry
Slips, trips and falls often occur when people are in a hurry, because then they often take shortcuts and pay no attention to what they are doing. We have all tried to jump across or go through an obstacle instead of walking "the long way around" to where we are going. These can be unsafe acts. Learn to slow down, to walk sure-footedly, and to avoid potentially hazardous shortcuts.


Pay attention to your steps
Avoid injuries by paying attention to where you are walking. Learning to recognize and avoid potential hazards saves time, money, and injury. Resist the temptation to take shortcuts, because shortcuts are usually not designed for foot traffic and frequently have unstable, shaky, or slippery surfaces.


Practice walking safely
If you cannot avoid walking on slippery or wet surfaces, practice walking across them safely. To quote from the Bill Murray movie What About Bob: “Baby steps, Bob. Baby steps.” Don't try to run, jump, or slide across slick surfaces. Instead, take slow, short steps. The smaller the step, the smaller the correction you will need to make if you do slip a little. For additional balance, keep your hands at your sides (not in your pockets). Carrying things reduces your ability to regain your balance if you slip. Not all surfaces are obviously slippery—remember that a freshly polished floor can be very slick even though it doesn't usually look hazardous.