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Toolbox Talks Slips Trips and Falls


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Looking for toolbox talks slips trips and falls? No problem! Here are a few that you are sure to love. Don’t forget to share these topics at your next safety meeting. Remember, you should always edit our general messaging to ensure it’s suitable for the work taking place on your job site.

A Toolbox Talk on the Causes Slips Trips and Falls

Toolbox Talks Slips Trips and Falls
Here’s some Toolbox Talks Slips Trips and Falls – enjoy!

Has this thought ever crossed your mind? The only way to be safe from falls is to avoid them! Avoidance is the key word. Let’s explore just a few of the factors contributing to falls and their serious results. Here are some to think about.

Scaffolds – Never erect a temporary scaffold. Even if the job will only last a very short time, the

scaffold should be erected as if you were going to use it indefinitely. Make sure you install all the cross braces both vertically and horizontally, be sure the scaffold is built on a level surface and fully decked, and don’t forget to provide proper access. Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s specifications when erecting.

Ladders – Select the right ladder for the job. Is it the right size, did you tie it off, did you inspect it prior to use? Always face the ladder when you climb and avoid carrying tools in your hands when climbing — one slip could send you down — use a hand line or pouch for the tools. Never stand on the top two steps. Remember the three-point contact rule.

Floor Openings – Any floor opening measuring 10 inches across or larger must be covered or protection provided by a standard guardrail with toeboard. A cover must be large enough and strong enough to prevent failure and be marked so that everyone on the job will be aware of its purpose. Guardrails must meet minimum strength requirements. Toeboards will prevent tools or materials from falling through the opening and injuring workers below.

Stairways – Slow down — don’t run up or down. Avoid carrying objects that block your view of the steps. To help eliminate falls on stairways take your time, look where you step, and use the handrail. Keep stairways free of clutter to prevent tripping.

Housekeeping – A secure footing is a positive step in avoiding falls and good housekeeping is essential to secure footing. Debris, trash, oil and water left to accumulate on stairs, walkways etcetera, will lead to certain falls. A clean worksite is a safer worksite.

Watch your step! Stay alert!

Avoidance and prevention is your first line of defence.



Prevent Falls

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Each year, falls result in many serious injuries. Let’s spend the next few minutes talking about where falls occur and what we can do to prevent them.


Good footing is the best way to avoid falls and good housekeeping is the best way to ensure good footing. Scrap lumber, trash, wire, and slippery areas caused by water, grease, or oil, can cause falls.


Taking ladders for granted has caused many falls. Many workers believe that they can use any ladder for any job. To be safe, however, select a ladder that suits the purpose. Be sure it is in good condition and that you place it securely. Keep both hands free for climbing and always face the ladder when going up or down. Don’t carry tools with you.


A scaffold should be solidly constructed like a permanent structure, even if it will be used for only a short time. Be sure uprights are uniformly spaced, plumb, and set on a good foundation. Use mudsills. Use horizontal or diagonal bracing to give stability. Provide guardrails and toeboards to help prevent falls. Inspect planking before installation. Whenever you’re on a single-point or a two-point suspended scaffold, wear your safety gear or equipment. Be sure it’s tied to a secure independent lifeline.


Depending on their size, cover floor openings or protect them with standard guardrails and toeboards. Also, protect wall openings, except for doorways and stairways through which persons could fall. This protection should be substantial and secured to prevent displacement.


Running, carrying objects that block your view failure to use handrails, or just not paying attention

causes falls on stairways. Watch your step and concentrate on what you are doing.

Remember, it’s not the fall that hurts. It’s the sudden stop.

Fall Causes

Yellow plastic cone with sign showing warning of wet floor

Injury due to falls is a major problem in construction today.

Falls are placed in two categories:

1. Falls on the same level.

2. Falls from different elevation.

First, let’s look at some of the causes of falls on the same level such as slipping, tripping, and bumping into.

  • Slipping could be due to ice on the walk, oil or grease on the floor, a banana peel left over from lunch, a small piece of pipe, a soft drink bottle, or a welding rod stub, just to name a few. We can avoid these hazards in two ways; first, we must practice good housekeeping by keeping our work areas clean and orderly; second, we must be alert and watch our step.
  • An irregular surface, lines or hoses can cause tripping across walkways, tools not in their proper place, poor lighting, and many others. The rules for avoiding tripping hazards are much the same as for slipping hazards; that is, practicing good housekeeping, watching your step, and in addition, keep your safety boots in good condition. Bad soles and heels have caused many falls.
  • Falls caused by bumping into also result in serious injuries. We should be especially careful in hallways, warehouses, and places where blind corners exist. We sometimes get in too much of a hurry; maybe we are late in the morning or in a hurry to get home in the evening. In this rush we go around a corner too fast and collide with another person and we go spinning.

Falls from different elevation are usually more serious than falls on the same level. These too, can be caused by slipping and tripping but are also caused by many other factors such as misjudging a step or a grab bar on a piece of heavy equipment, over-reaching a ladder or scaffold, not tying a ladder off properly, faulty handrails on scaffolds, not using safety belts when we should; you can name many more.


Toolbox Talks Slips Trips and Falls

Slips and falls are one of the most frequent causes of incidents, both on and off the job. To avoid getting hurt from falls, avoid rushing and remember the following:


Be aware of where you are walking. Look down continuously for spilled liquids, materials, equipment, changing surface levels, etc. Make sure the area is well lit or use a flashlight if lighting is poor.


Make sure your boots are in good shape and correct for the job. Discard worn-out boots with smooth soles and other defects. If conditions are wet and slippery, wear non-slip boots. Avoid footwear with leather soles, which have poor floor traction–especially on smooth surfaces.


Avoid unguarded floor openings. On construction sites, when covers are placed over floor openings, avoid walking on the cover unless it is secure and will not move or collapse. Never jump over pits or other openings.


Do not run when going up or down stairs. Ensure stair treads are in good shape, with no obstructions on the steps. Always use the hand railings that are provided. Avoid carrying large loads when going up or down stairs and ensure that stairs are well lit.


Never use broken or defective ladders. Set the angle of the ladder at the proper four-to-one ratio (height to width angle). Make sure the ladder is on solid footing and will not move when you climb upon it. Whenever possible, tie your ladder to the structure to improve stability. Anchorage at the bottom is also a good idea. Never stand on the top two steps of a stepladder.


When working on scaffolding, make sure it is secure, stable and properly set-up. Do not work on scaffolding if guardrails are missing or the base is unstable. Check to see that planks are in good shape and not cracked. Tall scaffolds should be tied into a structure to increase stability.


Never jump from equipment or vehicles. Use the handrail and steps provided, remembering the “three-point rule.” Avoid stepping onto loose rocks, slippery surfaces, oil spills, etc.

Watch your step and don’t trip yourself up! Remember, Gravity Always Wins!

Toolbox Talks Slips Trips and Falls For You!

Sign showing warning of caution wet floor

Each year slips and falls injure too many workers. Slipping on the floor is bad enough, but falling from a height can be disastrous. How can falls be prevented? STAY ALERT!

When working at heights, proper guardrails must be used and, where necessary, safety lifelines, lanyards and harnesses must be properly tied off to the structure.

Scaffolding must rest on firm footing with all the bracing installed. When using multi-level staging, the scaffolding must also be anchored to the structure. Scaffold-grade cleated planks, completely covering the working level, are a necessity.

Orderliness plays a big part in preventing slips and falls. Debris lying around on floors and working areas is an open invitation to accidents. Weather increases hazards, particularly in winter when debris becomes snow covered and cannot be seen. Ice conditions create additional dangers. Sand and/or calcium should be applied to icy areas.

Wet weather causes muddy boots, which contribute in turn to slips, and falls. Wipe your boots before climbing steps or entering a work area.

When climbing a ladder, hold on with both hands. When walking downstairs, use the guardrail.

REMEMBER! Your eyes are your best defense against slips and falls. Watch your step and look where you are going.

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