Back, Slip, Trip and Fall Safety Training

Amherst College

Environmental Health & Safety

Back, Slip, Trip and Fall Safety Training 

Back Safety

Back Injuries are one of the leading causes of disability and affect more than 600,000 employees annually. Occasionally they are the result of improper lifting techniques and/or lifting loads that are too heavy for the back to support, but most often are caused by years of back abuse, a combination of improper lifting practices, repetitive trauma and the weakening of the musculoskeletal system. Back injuries are still one of the leading causes of work place injuries, accounting for approximately 25% of all incidents.

Causes of Back Injuries

  • Poor physical strength and being overweight
    • Corrective Action: Weight loss and physical activity, such as strength training
  • Standing in one place for prolonged periods of time
    • Corrective Action: Change positions, take micro-breaks and stretch
  • Not stretching before lifting/shoveling
    • Corrective Action: Stretch before the task as well as at least once per hour
  • Poor posture when sitting
    • Corrective Action: Sit straight and tall with your shoulders pulled backward, no slouching 
  • Poor design of a specific job or work area
    • Corrective Action: Evaluate work area, make necessary adjustments, obtain appropriate material handling equipment 
  • Lifting while twisting (lower back) 
    • Corrective Action: Lift appropriate weight and turn entire body. Never lift and twist at the same time. 
  • Bending over while lifting
    • Corrective Action: Lift with your legs, not with your back 
  • Repetitive lifting
    • Corrective Action: Alternate the lifting method and consider using equipment
  • Heavy lifting, without the use of proper equipment
    • Corrective Action: Obtain the appropriate material handling equipment

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, trips and falls account for > 25,000 injuries a day. They are the 2nd leading cause of injury at work and account for 15% of all workplace accidents. Most of these events are recognizable before the incident takes place, and could have been corrected.

Causes of Slips, Trips, and Falls

  • A hazardous condition observed before the injury occurred
    • Corrective Action: Report any hazardous conditions to the supervisor/Facilities
  • Walking without paying attention to conditions or traffic
    • Corrective Action: Do not e-mail, text or wear headphones while walking
  • Absence of area, room or site inspections
    • Corrective Action: Supervisors perform site inspections and correct conditions
  • Improper footwear for the type of surfaces (slippery/wet)
    • Corrective Action: Wear the correct type of footwear for the environment
  • Slippery or wet floors or surfaces            
    • Corrective Action: Setup “Wet Floor” signs, clean up and report to supervisor
    • If always slippery because of floor finish contact the Custodial Department 
  • Icey sidewalks and driveways 
    • Corrective Action: Apply salt (containers everywhere) and contact Facilities
  • Wearing improper footwear for weather conditions 
    • Corrective Action: Wear appropriate winter footwear with traction
  • Poor lighting inside or outside of buildings 
    • Corrective Action: Report the lighting deficiency to Facilities / Police Dept. 
  • Uneven floor or ground surfaces, creating trip hazard
    • Corrective Action: Identify the hazard (cone/sign/tape). Contact Facilities 
  • Damaged, lose or missing carpeting, flooring or matting
    • Corrective Action: Report flooring issues to Facilities Department
  • Spills (food/beverages), as well as other fluids/liquids
    • Corrective Action: Clean up  (if safe) or set up warning and contact supervisor
  • Extension cord bunched up / across floor or corridor
    • Corrective Action: Run cord(s) along wall. If crossing floor/hall – Tape/Secure
  • Trip hazards within an area or room
    • Corrective Action: Improve housekeeping practices and notify supervisor
  • Damaged or missing guardrails or handrails   
    • Corrective Action: Report all guardrail and handrail issues to Facilities
  • Damaged flooring or steps (inside or outside)
    • Corrective Action: Report all floor or step deficiencies to Facilities
  • Walking up or downstairs without using handrails  
    • Correcive Action: Always use handrails to prevent tripping and falling
  • Open cabinets and drawers
    • Corrective Action: Keep all cabinets and drawers closed when not in use
  • Falling from elevated/improper furniture/levels
    • Corrective Action: Do not stand on rolling/tipping chairs or improper surfaces
  • Not utilizing proper equipment for height  
    • Corrective Action: Obtain the correct size ladder, or obtain lift and training
  • Falling from step ladders
    • Corrective Action: Do not stand on rolling/tipping chairs or improper surfaces
  • Step ladders placed in front of doorways  
    • Corrective Action: Step ladders must always be open and training is required
  • Descending ladders or ship ladders facing away from ladder
    • Corrective Action: Always face the ladder when ascending or descending

Avoid any work that could cause a back injury. Contact EH&S (anytime) for assistance and training.

Emergency (413) 542-2111 / Police Business (413) 542-2291 / Facilities (413) 542-2254 / HR (413) 542-2372 / EH&S (413) 542-8189

I have read and understand the material stated above, and will comply with the guidelines established in this policy regarding back, slips, trips, and falls.

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