Loughborough University
Hignett, Wolf, Taylor, Griffiths_HF-15-4379 PRODUCTION READY.pdf (172.69 kB)
Download file

Firefighting to innovation: using human factors and ergonomics to tackle slip, trip, and fall risks in hospitals

Download (172.69 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2015-08-18, 13:27 authored by Sue HignettSue Hignett, Laurie Wolf, Ellen Taylor, Paula GriffithsPaula Griffiths
Objective: The aim of this study was to use a theoretical model (bench) for human factors and ergonomics (HFE) and a comparison with occupational slips, trips, and falls (STFs) risk management to discuss patient STF interventions (bedside). Background: Risk factors for patient STFs have been identified and reported since the 1950s and are mostly unchanged in the 2010s. The prevailing clinical view has been that STF events indicate underlying frailty or illness, and so many of the interventions over the past 60 years have focused on assessing and treating physiological factors (dizziness, illness, vision/hearing, medicines) rather than designing interventions to reduce risk factors at the time of the STF. Method: Three case studies are used to discuss how HFE has been, or could be, applied to STF risk management as (a) a design-based (building) approach to embed safety into the built environment, (b) a staff- (and organization-) based approach, and (c) a patient behavior–based approach to explore and understand patient perspectives of STF events. Results and Conclusion: The results from the case studies suggest taking a similar HFE integration approach to other industries, that is, a sustainable design intervention for the person who experiences the STF event—the patient. Application: This paper offers a proactive problem-solving approach to reduce STFs by patients in acute hospitals. Authors of the three case studies use HFE principles (bench/book) to understand the complex systems for facility and equipment design and include the perspective of all stakeholders (bedside).



  • Design and Creative Arts
  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


  • Design

Published in

Human Factors






1195 - 1207


HIGNETT, S., WOLF, L. and TAYLOR, E., 2015. Firefighting to innovation: using human factors and ergonomics to tackle slip, trip, and fall risks in hospitals. Human Factors: the Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 57(7), pp.1195-1207.


SAGE (© 2015, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society)


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



The definitive published version can be found at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0018720815593642






  • en