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Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls at Construction Sites

The National Safety Council reports that construction is one of the most dangerous industries for workers, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry accounted for 46.2% of all fatal falls, slips and trips in 2021. Therefore, it is vital for businesses to take steps to prevent these incidents and maintain a safe working environment.

Slip, Trip and Fall Risks

Slips, trips and falls can occur in several different ways at a job site. For example, a worker can slip on uncleared ice, trip over tools left in a walkway, or fall from scaffolding or a ladder. To prevent these incidents, employers need to be watchful for slip, trip and fall hazards, including:

  • Exposed extension cords and cables

  • Grease, sawdust, oil and other debris

  • Freshly waxed or slippery surfaces

  • Irregular, unlevel or sloped ground

  • Water puddles or ice

  • Worksite tools and materials left out

  • Improper footwear

  • Unmarked or damaged steps

  • Uneven carpeting or rugs

Other factors, such as worker fatigue, poor lighting, heavy loads and bulky equipment, can also contribute to fall risks.

Prevention Tips

The are several strategies employers can implement to reduce slip, trip and fall risks, including the following:

  • Keep walkways clear. Objects and materials left in walkways are tripping hazards. Ensure items like cords, tools and carts are properly removed and stored or barricaded off. Trash barrels and recycling bins should also be available to keep walkways free of debris.

  • Use doormats. Doormats should be placed at each entrance to allow for footwear to be wiped before entering a building.

  • Designate walking areas. Properly mark where walking is safe, keep the area well lit and discourage taking shortcuts.

  • Post warning signs and clean up spills. Make sure signs are posted if flooring, steps or other surfaces are slippery or uneven. Implement procedures to quickly and safely clean spills.

  • Properly remove snow and ice. Have procedures to safely remove snow and ice from walkways.

  • Ensure personal fall protection equipment is utilized. Proper personal fall protection equipment (e.g., harnesses, lanyards and anchor points) must be used in accordance with OSHA standards. The use of safety handrails, guardrails and proper footwear is also essential.

  • Ensure proper ladder and scaffolding use. Make sure workers use ladders and scaffolding in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Ladders should be of proper length, in good condition and used on firm surfaces. Scaffolding should be free of defects, level and clean. Toeboards should be used to help prevent falls.

Along with educating workers on safe lifting techniques, encouraging them to report hazards, and ensuring proper safety policies and procedures are in place, these tips can help prevent slips, trips and falls in the construction industry. For more information visit

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