Wearing proper footwear provides traction. The measurement of traction is called the coefficient of friction. Higher coefficient of friction numbers mean you have better traction. Coefficient of friction also depends on the surface you’re walking on. Examples of high coefficient of friction or traction are soft rubber soles on rough cement, or carpeting.
Examples of low coefficient of friction are leather-soled shoes, or high heels on ice or wet tiled flooring. ANSI approved footwear that is rated slip-resistant will have soft rubber soles that provide good traction. Wearing the proper PPE will stack the odds in your favor. Always keep your shoes in clean condition. If you have stepped in a slippery substance, take the time to clean them.
It is better to take a few minutes now than days of recuperation time later. Avoid wearing high heeled shoes, leather-soled shoes or other hard, smooth surface soles. They may look nice but provide little traction.
Moving too fast, an uneven gait, quick stops or frequent turns can cause you to lose your footing. To prevent loss of balance, make sure to adjust your stride to a pace suitable for your walking surface. A quick or uneven gait forces the heel of the front foot to strike the floor harder while the toe of the back foot pushes harder. This creates a perfect condition for a slip and fall.
Make wide turns at corners and walk with your feet pointed slightly outward to help maintain your balance. When making tight turns, avoid twisting your trunk and make sure to move your feet. Always maintain muscle control in your stomach and legs while walking. Try to grab the floor, curling your toes as you walk. You will find that the muscles in your legs will be tensed and ready to control a slip or trip.
By the time you tense slack muscles to gain control of a slip, you will already be on the floor. Always use the handrail on stairways when going up or down. Never skip steps or jump off the last couple of steps. Every year thousands of people are injured from a fall down the stairs. Simply using the handrail could have prevented most of those injuries. Report loose handrails or loose non-slip strips that have been applied to the stairs.
For more information, we encourage you to check out eSafety’s Slips, Trips, and Falls Prevention course or contact our team to learn more about how our online training course library can fit into your workplace.