OHS Canada Magazine

Slips, trips, and falls injure 7,000 workers in B.C. annually: WorkSafeBC data

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October 26, 2023
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety Slips Winter Safety WorkSafeBC

Photo: WorkSafeBC

About one in five workplace injuries are related to slips, trips, and falls, according to WorkSafeBC. That translates into an average of about 7,000 injuries every year in the province.

The agency is urging employers and workers to manage risks around these injuries. In the past six years, almost 41,000 workers in B.C. suffered slip-trip-and-fall injuries, including fractures, sprains, and dislocations.

Costly incidents, productivity loss

Slips, trips, and falls are the costliest workplace incidents and some of the biggest causes of general productivity loss, it said.

On average, slip-trip-and-fall injuries cost B.C. businesses 440,000 lost workdays and more than $148 million in claim costs each year. Sectors most impacted include healthcare and social services, construction, the service sector, and manufacturing.

“Slips, trips, and falls can lead to debilitating injuries that impact both workers and businesses alike,” said Barry Nakahara, senior manager, Prevention Field Services at WorkSafeBC. “The good news is the majority of slip-trip-and-fall incidents are preventable — and the basic precautions are easy and cost-effective.”


Tactics for employers

The simplest way of preventing injuries from slips, trips, and falls in the workplace is to develop and implement a risk management plan that uses the established hierarchy of controls  to identify and assess controls, and to monitor safety hazards and risks.

Some examples include:

  • Install electrical wires, cords, and hoses where they won’t create tripping hazards.
  • Install covers, drip pans, containers, or containment rooms to prevent the release of contaminants from equipment to the floor.
  • Make sure all tools, equipment, and materials are stored in their designated locations.
  • Determine the right type of footwear for workers to wear based on the slip and trip hazards in the workplace.

WorkSafeBC encourages employers to engage their workers and joint health and safety committees early in the process.

It is important to note that during the winter months, icy and wet conditions contribute to an 11 per cent increase in injuries due to slips, trips, and falls. Nakahara notes that changing workplace conditions — including changes in weather — mean that risk assessments must be revisited on a regular basis.



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