Slips Trips and Falls
12th March 2012
Over a third of all major injuries reported each year are caused as a result of a slip or trip (the single most common cause of injuries at work).
These cost employers over £512 million a year in lost production and other costs. Slips and trips also account for over half of all reported injuries to members of the public. More than 1,000 workers a month suffer a serious injury following a slip, trip or fall. Statistics show that particular groups of workers are more likely to be involved, injured, or incapacitated in some way as a result of a slip, trip or fall at work. Construction workers, electricians, gas fitters other trades people, and site managers, kitchen managers and chefs, food retail staff, area and store managers, food operatives and their shift managers feature prominently in the figures. However slips, trips and falls accidents do happen in any workplace and the HSE urge anyone where slips, trips and falls are a risk to ensure that a good management system is in place that will help: Identify problem areas Decide what to do to minimise the risk Ensure that checks are made to check that the actions have been and continue to be effective Choose only suitable floor surfaces and particularly avoid very smooth floors in areas that will become wet/contaminated (such as kitchens and entrance halls). Ensure lighting levels are sufficient, properly plan pedestrian and traffic routes and avoid overcrowding Normal conditions still have potential to cause slips Remember slip accidents do not only happen outside or on wet floors. It is true that most slip injuries are on wet or contaminated (e.g. food, oil) floors. Far fewer slips happen on clean, dry floors so this should be your first aim. When someone slips his or her foot slides on the film of contaminant instead of making firm contact with the floor itself. Don't forget that dry contaminants, such as dust or plastic bags, can also cause people to slip and fall with equally damaging outcomes. Train workers in the correct use of any safety and cleaning equipment provided. Cleaning methods and equipment must be suitable for the type of surface being treated. You may need to get advice from the manufacturer or supplier. Take care not to create additional slip or trip hazards while cleaning and maintenance work is being done. Floors need to be checked for loose finishes, holes and cracks, worn rugs and mats etc. Take care in the choice of floor if it is likely to become wet or dusty due to work processes. Seek specialist advice when choosing a floor for difficult conditions. Obstructions and objects left lying around can easily go unnoticed and cause a trip. Try to keep work areas tidy and if obstructions can't be removed, warn people using signs or barriers. Cardboard should not be used to absorb spillages as this itself presents a tripping hazard. Footwear can play an important part in preventing slips and trips. This is especially important where floors can't be kept dry. Your footwear supplier should be able to advise on shoes/boots with slip-resistant soles. Employers need to provide footwear, if it is necessary to protect the workers' safety. Further information is available in HSE publication INDG 225 Preventing slips trips at work