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

Review your healthcare facility's historical injury records for STF incidents. Obtain and check copies of workers' compensation claims, incident reports, first reports 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. What should you do to best identify the types of STFs that are most common in your healthcare facility?

a. Check with your workers' compensation provider
b. Call OSHA to get an accident report summary
c. Check the OSHA 300 log
d. Read the narrative descriptions of the incidents

Next Section

Risk Assessment

records

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.

One of the best things you can do to prevent future FTS accidents is to make a record of your significant findings and what you have in place to prevent them. The hazards you have found should be photographed, described, and kept on file so changes can be made and documented.

2. What is one of the best things you can do in a risk assessment to help prevent future FTS accidents?

a. Record findings and preventive actions
b. Mandate that employees report all accidents they have
c. Require all employees to see a health care provider if they fall
d. Conduct monthly walkaround inspections

Next Section

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 important things to remember increase employee awareness and involvement:

  • 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 (i.e., booths, posters, emails, paycheck inserts, and incentives) educating employees about the risk of STFs and what they can do to prevent injuries.
  • Encourage them to carry 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 during training, on bulletin boards, and in meetings on STF injury rates to maintain an effective ongoing awareness of the progress being made.

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. What can be done to help maintain effective ongoing awareness of the progress being made in reducing STFs?

a. Enforce safety rules
b. Educate about the risks of STFs
c. Keep all accident reports anonymous
d. Require employees to read all bulletins

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. Analyze: Assess the risk to employees, to visitors, and to the public. Periodically review to be sure all hazards are addressed.
  4. Develop: Establish safety policies, programs, processes, procedures, and practices to reduce the number of injuries.
  5. Deploy: Provide essential instruction and training at all levels, in all departments, and facilities. Be sure to include management-level training.
  6. Evaluate: Ensure work practices and processes are being carried out properly and that they are being monitored to discover weaknesses in the program. Revise the program based on the evaluation.

4. What is an important action to take during the deployment phase of the STF Program?

a. Provide training at all levels
b. Create focused written procedure
c. Follow through to make sure the program works
d. Talk with supervisors about program effectiveness

Check your Work

Click on the "Check Quiz Answers" button to grade your quiz and see your score. You will receive a message if you forgot to answer one of the questions. After clicking the button, the questions you missed will be listed below. You can correct any missed questions and recheck your answers.

Final Exam
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