Perception of slipperiness and prospective risk of slipping
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
: 4:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Background: Falls are a leading cause of injury, and slipping is the predominant cause of falling at work. Prior research has suggested modest correlations between objective (such as coefficient of friction, COF) and subjective measures of slipperiness (such as worker perceptions). However, the degree of association between subjective measures and the actual risk of slipping in the workplace is unknown. We examined the association between perception of slipperiness and the risk of slipping. Methods: 475 workers from 36 limited-service restaurants participated in a 12-week prospective-cohort study. At baseline, demographic information was collected, participants rated floor slipperiness in eight areas of the restaurant, and work environment factors such as COF were measured. Restaurant-level and area-level mean perceptions of slipperiness were calculated. Participants then reported their slip experience at work, weekly, for the next 12 weeks. Associations between perception of slipperiness and the rate of slipping were assessed. Results: Adjusting for age, gender, BMI, education, primary language, mean COF, use of slip-resistant shoes, and restaurant chain, each 1 point increase in mean restaurant-level perception of slipperiness (4 point scale) was associated with a 2.71 times increase in the rate of slipping (95% CI 1.25-5.87). Results were similar for area-level perception within the restaurant (RR 2.92, 95% CI 2.41-3.54). Conclusions: Perception of slipperiness and the future rate of slipping were strongly associated. These findings suggest that public and occupational health professionals, risk managers and employers could utilize aggregated worker perceptions of slipperiness to identify slipping hazards and, potentially, to assess intervention effectiveness.
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related research
Describe the scope and scale of falls as a public and occupational health problem.
Compare subjective and objective measures of slipperiness and their associations with future risk of slips and falls.
Explain how perception of slipperiness could be applied as a scalable risk assessment approach for preventing slips and falls.
Keyword(s): Injury Prevention, Risk Assessment
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Ted Courtney, M.S., CSP, is Director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety in Hopkinton, MA. He is also Instructor in Injury, Safety and Ergonomics at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA. Ted has received considerable scientific recognition for his falls research and is Associate Editor of Accident Analysis and Prevention and an editorial board member of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.