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Slips, trips, and falls in hospital workers - pilot outcomes.

Courtney T; Wellman H; Lombardi D; Sorock G; Collins J; Bell J; Wolf L; Gronqvist R
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 8-13, 2004, Atlanta, Georgia. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2004 May; :3
The health services sector is the largest employer in private industry (approximately 10 million workers). In 2001, more health care workers were injured than workers in any other sector, and slips, trips, and falls (STF) accounted for the largest proportion of lost time injuries (21%). The incidence rate of same level STF injuries in hospitals was almost twice that of private industry (38.6 vs. 20.8 per 10,000 FTEs). A case-crossover field study was initiated to describe the circumstances of hospital worker STF and evaluate the contribution of potential transient risk factors. Health-care workers, who reported a STF to the occupational health department in five U.S. hospitals, were recruited. Fifty-nine subjects were interviewed using a structured telephone questionnaire. Eighty-six percent were women with a mean age (range) of 46 (19-67). Nurses (32%) and maids and housemen (12%) were the most frequently reported occupations. Fifty-one subjects (86%) fell: 55% after slipping, 41% after tripping. Liquid contaminants (e.g., water, cleaning solutions) were noted in 34% of the events. Fifty-nine percent of the STF occurred at a transitional area: wet to dry (31%), one type of floor to another (22%), or uneven surfaces (19%). Ninety-three percent of subjects were injured. Contusions (23% of injuries), strains and sprains (22%), and fractures (9%) were typical. To evaluate each potential transient risk factor, exposure for each worker at the time of their STF was compared with their usual frequency of exposure in the prior work month. Contaminated floors, unfamiliar pathways, rushing (e.g., responding to urgent patient needs), carrying atypical loads, and distraction were encountered more frequently at the time of injury than in the prior work month. Prevention resources should focus on improved control of contaminants and improved transitions between surfaces and conditions.
Health-care-personnel; Health-care-facilities; Health-care; Injuries; Occupational-hazards; Risk-factors; Risk-analysis; Occupational-health; Questionnaires; Demographic-characteristics; Age-factors; Nurses; Surface-properties
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Traumatic Injuries
Source Name
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 8-13, 2004, Atlanta, Georgia
Page last reviewed: August 26, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division