Slips, trips, and falls are a common scenario that can occur in any fast-paced environment. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, it is the second leading cause of accidental death, following motor vehicles. Children run and play all around our school grounds during recess, outdoor activities, and sports games. In this type of active environment where both children and staff are always moving, we must do our part as educators to minimize preventable incidents.
How These Incidents OccurSlips usually occur when there is little to no friction between your feet and the walking surface, resulting in loss of balance. Falls happen when you are too far away from the center of balance. Falls can occur on the same level or a level below, which can make it even more dangerous. With falls, a person can injure almost any part of the body, including the knee, ankle, foot, wrist, elbow, back, shoulder, hip, or even the head. In the case of trips, the foot or lower leg hits an object while the upper body keeps moving in the same direction, resulting in a loss of balance.
Most of these accidents are preventable by two main factors: first, by being aware of the surroundings and treading carefully with each step taken; and second, when the institution is maintained through general upkeep and inspections.
Here are a few key actions you can implement today to prevent these incidents.
Key Prevention Actions
- Educate and train students and staff to be aware of every step and stay alert. Teach them to be attentive to what they do and where they go. Exercise care and practice safety awareness in everything.
- Wear appropriate footwear. Choose slip-resistant footwear for ice, wet, and snow weather conditions.
- Alert students and staff of areas inside and outside the facility where natural settings present hazards that could easily create a trip and fall event. Post warning signs in those areas as a reminder.
- Review appropriate dress and footwear with students and staff for different activities at the school, including outdoor sports grounds and laboratory classrooms.
- Conduct safety drills regularly and educate students and staff on the correct pattern of evacuation in case of emergency. Make sure students know the escape route and avoid any trip and fall accidents.
A Safety and Maintenance Program for SchoolsThe school administration has a moral responsibility to provide a safe environment to all occupants of the school building and grounds. Safety should be the primary concern in every event and in every area. Update prevention policies and procedures periodically. With regular updates, you can be confident that your school grounds are safe for children and staff day in and day out.
- Display appropriate signage after the floor is mopped and still wet.
- Keep hallways free from any storage or tripping hazards.
- Ascertain that no electrical wires are laying across or are cross-connected on the floors.
- While surface levels are in transition mode, the joint section should be highlighted in a vibrant color paint to alert passengers of the change in surface level.
- Place a rubber-based mat around the drinking water fountain to prevent slips if the floor becomes wet.
- Install adequate lighting in all public areas, including stairwells and areas around exits.
- Use slip-proof tiles for flooring in laboratories and kitchen areas to avoid accidents.
- Provide adequate handrails in staircases for protection and ensure the steps have nosing to prevent slips on the stairs.
- Display warning signs when an area is under repair. All construction areas should be roped off using a colored tape and entry restricted to authorized personnel only.
- Perform regular self-inspections of all areas and check for tripping hazards. If found, make sure they are repaired immediately.
- Regularly check the playground and make sure it is kept neat and tidy. Play equipment areas should have adequately resilient surfaces that will prevent injury if a child accidentally falls.
- Trim tree branches and remove debris to avoid any trips and falls.