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Avoiding Slips, Trips, and Falls for Healthcare Workers

Common hazards like water spills and burned-out light bulbs can lead to serious, painful injuries—and could also limit your ability to respond to emergencies. Protect yourself, your coworkers, and your patients by doing what you can to create a hazard-free workplace.

Clean up wet surfaces

Anytime you see (or cause) a spill, clean it up right away. If you can’t, mark it with a sign or paper towels and report it to the appropriate person for cleanup.

Place paper towels and spill pad holders in areas where spills are likely. Wear slip-resistant shoes. Use only nonslip mats.

Yellow sign on floor cautioning wet floor.

Keep your area clutter free and well lit

Every piece of equipment left out or drawer left open is a hazard that can trip you up, particularly when it’s dark:

  • Clean up clutter, especially in front of doors, in hallways, and on stairs.

  • Organize electrical cords to avoid tripping on them.

  • Don’t leave wheelchairs, cleaning supplies, handcarts, and other materials lying around.

  • Turn on lights before entering a room or supply closet.

  • Report burned-out light bulbs to maintenance promptly.

  • Close drawers before you walk away from them.

Avoid shortcuts

Taking a shortcut to save time can be risky. The more shortcuts you take, the greater your chance for taking a tumble:

  • Find a ladder or a step stool when something is out of easy reach. Don't stand on a chair or other object not meant for climbing. Never reach for a load higher than your shoulders.

  • Never carry a load that you can’t see over. If necessary, make more than one trip, use supply carts, or ask for assistance.

  • Use only designated walkways. Be sure that stairways have handrails on both sides.

  • Report damage to or sudden drop-offs or rises in walkways to the appropriate person. These areas need to be fixed or clearly marked with yellow warning paint.

Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Maryann Foley RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2021
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