Slips, trips and falls are the second leading cause of occupational injury deaths. Non-fatal slips, trips and falls result in over $10 billion in workers’ compensation costs annually. Firefighters have one of the highest rates of slip, trip, and fall (STF) injuries, accounting for 20-25% of all firefighter injuries annually. This project will 1) prospectively identify and characterize STF events among 1,200 firefighters, 2) comprehensively identify STF event risk factors, and 3) use these results and a Total Worker Health (“TWH”) approach to assess the feasibility of a community-based participatory approach to engage firefighters in plans to develop, implement and evaluate STF mitigation strategies.

Approximately 1200 firefighters from fire departments in the southeastern US will be enrolled in a prospective cohort study with a 15-month follow-up. In Aim 1, we will prospectively examine all STF events to provide more reliable incidence estimates and identify hazardous working conditions and causes of STF events. In Aim 2, we will determine firefighter characteristics, health and safety behaviors, and working conditions associated with a higher risk of STF events to inform future TWH interventions. In Aim 3, we will examine the feasibility of a participatory process that engages with firefighters to help design STF mitigation efforts informed by Aims 1 and 2. This project will help translate research results into effective STF mitigation strategies that will strengthen the fire service and enhance firefighter well-being.

Study Highlights

Slip, trip, and fall identification

Understanding the rate of new slip, trip, and fall events and the potential causes of these events will lead to improved risk detection.

Identifying feasible injury prevention efforts

We will engage firefighters and administrators in the discussion of our findings and how we can inform the design of feasible injury prevention strategies.