When an individual describes a fall as from “the same level”, it means falling onto the same surface that they were walking on, standing on, or falling into or against objects at or above the surface. This typically occurs when the person slips on, or trips over, something.
Slip-type falls, or “slip-and-fall” incidents, happen when there’s insufficient slip resistance between a person’s foot and the ground, usually at the moment of heel strike, which leads to a sliding motion. In this situation, the fall causes the person’s center of gravity, which remains behind the slipping foot, to be unsupported, leading to an imbalance and a potential fall. Factors such as water, ice, oils, and even dry material, such as sawdust or sand, can affect 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 their walking path. These types of falls can happen when a person is walking or when an 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
One should always be observant of their surroundings, focus on what they are doing, and remain aware to avoid distractions that could lead to potential falls. Here are several resources on this topic:
Our safety team is available to help members take their safety program from compliance to quality safety practices. Contact us at [email protected] to learn more.