Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention

Slips, trip and falls account for around 25% of all the injuries at UC Davis each year.

These injuries involve sprains & strains to knees, back, hip, ankles, etc., bruises & contusions to the hip, head, fractures to legs, arms, elbows, shoulders, and abrasions and lacerations. You take hundreds of steps every day, but how many of those steps do you take seriously?  By taking a few minutes to understand how slips, trips, and falls happen, you can prevent needless and painful injuries.

Hazard Awareness-Slips

  • Slips often occur due to poor footwear, wet, muddy or greasy shoes/boots
  • Rushing and not paying attention, stepping onto and across pooled water, oil or grease, food substances, etc.
  • Dusts like powders, granules, wood and also plastic wrapping can lead to slips.
  • Highly-polished floors can also be slick even when dry; i.e. concrete, marble, ceramic tile, freshly-waxed surfaces
  • Slips can occur when transitioning from one surface to another like carpeted to vinyl or grid to smooth concrete surfaces.
  • Sloped walking surfaces, loose, un-anchored rugs or mats, loose floorboards or shifting tiles and ramps & gang planks without skid- or slip-resistant surfaces.
  • Slips can also happen on metal surfaces; dockboards & dock plates, platforms, sidewalk & road covers
  • Prevention action: Clean up spills or mark with a hazard sign until cleaned up

Hazard Awareness-Trips

  • Trips occur when objects are left in walking surface aisle ways and paths due to poor housekeeping.
  • Uncovered hoses, cables, wires or extension cords across aisles or walkways, clutter, obstacles in aisles, walkway & work areas, open cabinet, file or desk drawers & doors are all examples of trip hazards
  • Prevention action: Remove trip hazards or cover cords with cord bridges

Hazard Awareness Falls

  • Falls can occur at the same level as walking or even more seriously when climbing ladders or working on elevated locations like roofs, catwalks, mezzanines, or from powered aerial lifts.
  • Falls can also occur from leaning back on chairs or stools
  • Climb on chairs or onto unstable shelving or tables to reach items
  • Prevention actions: Follow ladder safety rules, take ladder safety training, wear fall protection on elevated surfaces, or have your department buy a safety step ladder

Walking surfaces

  • Weather conditions may cause the floors or sidewalks to be wet or the ground to slick. 
  • Do not take short cuts across the grassy areas (hidden holes and other trip hazards);
  • Wet or even dry leaves, pine needles & other plant debris on walking surfaces can be a  slip and fall hazard
  • Watch were you are stepping and use caution on wet floors to avoid slipping.

Staircases and ladders

  • One fall down a staircase or ladder can be very serious
  • Use handrails when ascending or descending stair
  • Take your time ascending & descending stairs & ladders
  • Damaged steps or rungs misplaced items are major factors in trips. 
  • Make sure that steps you use often are in good shape and that items (that do not belong on the steps) are out of the way, if not report it to your supervisor.
  • Don’t carry objects which either block your vision is also often associated with falls
  • Use a tool belt or bucket and rope to bring up items when climbing a ladder
  • Don’t climb on unstable shelving or tables.
  • Have a safety step ladder available in your dept.
  • When descending ladders, make sure your on the last rung

Mounting & dismounting vehicles & equipment

  • Use hand grabs and steps provide to climb into truck cabs
  • Never grab the door handle to ascend or descend


  • Use good judgment with regard to footwear while at work in the office and in a lab or shop shoes must be closed toe and heel
  •  Be certain footwear is in good condition and appropriate to your job function and outside weather conditions

Parking lots and vehicles

  • When exiting your vehicle develop the safe habit of checking  you have good footing before exiting
  • Be aware of parking curb bumpers in lots 

Being proactive is a part of injury prevention

  • Employees should immediately report all unsafe conditions to supervision to get the problem fixed
  • Eliminate the hazard when possible (i.e. broken chair, unstable ladder, etc...)
  • Immediately report injuries and illnesses
  • If something is creating a potential slip, trip, or fall hazard fix it (clean it up - move it).
  • Place signs, cordon off with marking tape, or cones to warn others of the potential hazard.
  • If you can not fix it - Place a work order so that your maintenance shop or Facilities Management (FM) is aware of the problem 752-1655