Slips, trips and falls in the workplace can be very dangerous. In 2016, 849 American workers died because of a slip, trip or fall, and many others suffered serious injuries. Because accidents like these are so serious, many people are afraid that it will happen to them. However, this fear of falling might actually make it more likely to happen, according to a recent Occupational Health and Safety article.

The article explains that, typically, those who have already suffered an injury from a slip, trip or fall are the ones who are most afraid of it happening again. This fear of falling causes the body to stiffen when someone starts to lose balance, making it more likely the person will not be able to regain that balance.

To prevent slip, trip and fall accidents, it is important to recognize that physical balance can be affected by your fear of falling as well as your environment, and understand that some risk factors for falling cannot be eliminated, such as weather or transitions between different floor surfaces. However, you can reduce your fear of falling by building muscle memory for relaxing and positioning your body to regain balance.

If you slip, trip or fall at work, always report the incident to your employer, even if you do not initially notice an injury. If the incident does injure you, be sure to seek medical treatment right away.

Slips, trips and falls can have serious consequences, so it is important to do all that you can to avoid these types of accidents. Although it may seem counterintuitive, reducing your fear of falling may actually be one of the best ways to prevent a fall from happening.