Advanced Photon Source

An Office of Science National User Facility

Avoiding Slips, Trips, and Falls


Injuries resulting from slips, trips, and falls are a large fraction of those suffered by Argonne employees, subcontractors, and visitors. This mirrors the nationwide experience. Slips, trips, and falls were the second highest cause (17%) of worker fatalities during the years 1992-2014 (transportation incidents were the highest at 41%).

Here are four easy ways to reduce the likelihood that you will have a serious slip, trip, or fall:
1. Don’t read your cell phone while walking. Place it on mute until you reach your destination. If you absolutely must stay in touch or read your latest email, stop and step to the side out of the general flow of foot traffic until you’re done.
2. Keep aware of your surroundings. Looking at someone walking with you while holding a conversation focuses your attention on them, not on your surroundings. Frequently look forward and down to see if uneven or slippery surfaces or steps up/down are ahead. When entering an area that is uneven or that has slippery spots (e.g., water or goose droppings), look down frequently to note where to best place your feet.
3. If the weather is bad, always assume surfaces are uneven or slippery. This is especially true during winter weather conditions. Just because you see someone salting or hear an area has been salted, doesn’t mean it’s OK. Always assume it’s slippery and walk accordingly.
4. Immediately clean up any spills on the floor of water, coffee, soda, or other liquids. If it’s too large to clean up, call building maintenance to place a cone by the spill until it can be cleaned. Stay by the spill until a person responds to your call.

These may seem inconvenient to follow, but being inconvenienced beats being injured every time.

You can contact Tom Barkalow, APS ESH/QA Coordinator, with questions at

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