Slipping, tripping, and falling at work: prevention of slip, trip and fall hazards for hospital workers.
To investigate an infusion pump alarm, a nurse enters a patient's room at night very quietly, using a flashlight, to avoid waking the patient. She doesn't see a duffel bag that has been placed by a family member on the floor just inside the room and trips over it, breaking her wrist as she hits the floor. A member of the housekeeping staff is cleaning a sink and slips on something on the floor, twisting her back as she tries to keep herself from falling. A close look at the spill reveals that hand sanitizer has dripped onto the floor underneath a wall-mounted dispenser. Slip, trip, and fall (STF) events are the second leading cause of workers' compensation claims in hospitals. In 2010, a total of 12,400 STF events accounted for 21% of all work-related injuries in hospitals requiring at least 1 day away from work. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the incidence rate of lost-workday injuries from same-level STFs in hospitals was 33.8 per 10,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, which is 73% higher than the average rate of STF events for workers in private industry (19.5 per 10,000 FTE). The healthcare industry is the largest employer in the United States, with an estimated 15.7 million workers. Between 2008 and 2018, healthcare growth is projected to be higher than any other industrial sector, adding 3.2 million new jobs.