Slips and trips are caused from unintended or unexpected change in the contact between the foot and walking surface. Slips and trips do not always result in a fall. Back injuries, strains, sprains, turned ankles or other painful injuries can occur due to jerking and twisting while attempting to prevent the fall. Serious or fatal injury can occur when a person falls and strikes a stationary object, or when they hit the walking or working surface.
There are a number of ways that slips and trips can occur. Slips are the loss of balance due to loss of traction between the shoe and walking surface. Your center of gravity pushes beyond its boundaries resulting in a fall. The body usually falls backward from a slip.
Slip and slide occurs when one foot loses traction and slides beyond the control of the leg muscles. Since the front or back foot can slide, the direction of fall can be in any direction. A slip and slide type of fall causes the most severe sprains and strains.
Trips are a loss of balance from the leading foot coming into contact with a solid object and suddenly stopping. The upper body is thrown forward as you fall.
Step and fall is also a factor to consider. When the front foot contacts a surface higher or lower than expected the body is usually propelled forward in a fall. Stepping off a curb in the dark or uneven stair risers are risk factors in step and fall injuries.
Stepping or walking backward has also been the cause of many falls when the foot or leg comes in contact with objects. Sometimes a person may step backward to avoid a bracing wind or flying debris. A good solution is to wear safety eyewear or a face shield for protection.
The simple act of stepping backward away from a workstation has caused severe injury when someone inadvertently placed an object on the floor behind an operator of a machine. Never assume your path is clear. Always look behind you before moving backward.
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