Of the 12 categories of workplace injuries and illnesses Washington University’s Office of Environmental Health & Safety tracks, “slips, trips and falls” is the category that usually contains the most serious injuries that faculty and staff sustain.
Although this accident category represents less than 20 percent of the total number of injuries, in the first half of 2010, the university has experienced a rise in the number of serious slip, trip and fall injuries, says Bruce Backus, assistant vice chancellor of environmental health and safety.
“Slips, trips, and falls cause some of the most severe injuries at Washington University,” Backus says. “We’re not sure why we’ve seen a jump in the number of those types of injuries, but if everyone proactively takes responsibility to address slip, trip and fall hazards on our campuses, we can hope to greatly reduce the number of such injuries in the future.
“The key is to take care, stay aware and slow down,” Backus says.
The Office of Environmental Health & Safety asks that faculty, staff and students follow these tips to keep their footing while on WUSTL campuses.
- Remove tripping hazards on the floor, such as cords and boxes.
- Immediately clean up or block access to spills that may cause slips.
- Use stepladders or stepstools to reach items placed high. Do not use chairs or tables.
- Use handrails on stairs.
- Do not leave equipment in corridors, where someone could trip over it.
- Keep work areas clean and free of clutter.
- Report structural problems to Facilities, such as uneven or damaged sidewalks or missing stairwell handrails. For the Danforth Campus, call (314) 935-5544. For the Medical Campus, call (314) 362-3100.
For a promotional flyer containing this information, visit ehs.wustl.edu/avoidingSlipsTrips.pdf.