stairsYears ago, I sat on a safety committee at work. I didn’t work with any factory employees, and I thought it was a dumb and boring assignment until a consultant came to a meeting and told us about all the ways people die on the job.

I don’t remember the statistics, but I do remember that he spent 15 minutes describing the multiple ways in which people slip, fall and die. You fall down the stairs more than you fall up. Women fall more than men. And if you’re walking down the stairs with something in your hand — like scissors or a pencil — you’ll probably impale yourself.

Who walks down a flight of stairs with a pencil in her hand? Some unlucky broad, that’s who.

So now it’s 2015, and I don’t think about my old HR training on a regular basis. Why would I? Those days are over.

Except I just recently fell down a flight of stairs in my own home. I was wearing a pair of socks. I have hardwood floors. I was on the phone. And my feet went out from under me and I took each one of these stairs on my right hip and elbow.

I was horrified. I didn’t scream while going down the stairs, but I dropped the phone. I was 100% sure it would be smashed, but thankfully it survived. (I’m due for an upgrade on March 5th, and that would have killed me more than the fall.)

I picked up the phone to apologize to the woman on the call, and I realized something impressive — she was still talking and didn’t even notice that I was gone.


If you google “slip and fall,” you will find yourself overwhelmed with a ton of information from personal injury attorneys. Skip that, but just remember that your job in human resources is to minimize risk for your entire enterprise. Safety — for employees who work at home, in the office, and on the shop floor — falls under that umbrella.

Might be time to brush up on some refresher training.