When someone describes a fall as from “the same level, they are referring to falling onto the same surface you were walking on, standing on, or falling into or against objects at or above the surface. This usually occurs when you slip on, or trip over, something.
Slip-type falls, or “slip-and-fall” incidents, occur when there is insufficient slip resistance between a person’s foot and the floor, typically at the moment of heel strike, resulting in a sliding motion. In this instance, the fall causes one’s center of gravity, which remains behind the slipping foot, to be unsupported, resulting in imbalance and a potential fall. Water, ice, oils, and even dry material, such as pea gravel or sand, and can influence these types of falls.
Trip-type falls, also known as “trip-and-fall incidents,” occur when a person encounters an unseen object or raised surface in one’s walking path. A trip-type-fall may happen during the walking process when the object or surface prevents or briefly delays the trailing leg from swinging forward. When this happens, the person can’t achieve a timely and accurate positioning of the foot in the direction of travel, preventing balance in their upper body at the critical moment of anticipated contact.
These types of falls can be the result of a health or physical condition, impaired vision, or other issue affecting the person’s judgment and balance, including:
- Stress-based illness
- Impaired vision or visual perception
- Physical state, such as fatigue
- Alcohol, medications, or drugs, including prescription, OTC, and illicit
Always be observant of your surroundings, focus on what you are doing, and remain aware to avoid distractions that can lead to potential falls. You can find more information on this topic in the RS Safety Library or RS Safety TV under Slip Trips Falls.
Rick Means, Director of Safety and Education, is available to help members draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact Rick at 360-943-9198, Ext. 118 or [email protected].