Slips, trips, and falls (STF) represent a serious hazard to workers and occupants in many industries, homes, and communities. Often, the cause of a STF incident is multifactorial, encompassing human, environmental, and task risk factors. A STF-related disability can greatly diminish the occupational capability and quality of life of individuals in both the workplace and the home. Countering STF hazards and risks both on and off the job and on all aspects of control measures is a "total worker safety" matter, a challenging yet tangible undertaking. As the federal organization responsible for conducting research for the prevention of work-related injuries in the United States, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has been conducting research on STF controls for some decades. Many NIOSH research outcomes have been utilized for STF prevention in workplaces, with potential for prevention in homes as well. This paper summarizes the concept of total worker safety for STF control, NIOSH priority research goals, major activities, and accomplishments, and some emerging issues on STF. The strategic planning process for the NIOSH research goals and some identified research focuses are applicable to the development and implementation of global STF research goals.
Hongwei Hsiao, Ph.D., National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1095 Willowdale Rd., Morgantown, WV 26505, USA