Slip and trip accidents can happen for a number of reasons but, all too frequently, we jump to conclusions about why they happen rather than really looking for the true cause; or we decide that it is just ‘one of those things’ and do nothing.
Why are slips and trips important?
Statistics show slipping and tripping to be the single most common cause of injuries in UK workplace, relating to over a third of all major injuries reported. Employers must therefore do all they can to ensure that they do not put people at risk. Some of the main causes of slips, trips and falls in the workplace are as follows:
- Uneven floor surface
- Unsuitable floor coverings
- Wet floors
- Changes in levels
- Trailing cables
- Poor lighting
- Poor housekeeping
Who is affected/most at risk from slips and trips?
All employees, visitors, members of the public and contractors who are in the workplace are at risk from slips and trips
What does the law say?
All employers have statutory duty and common-law obligations in relation to the health and safety of their employees and premises. There are elements of the following legislation that affect slips and trips:
- The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
Good practice regarding slips and trips
Employers must assess the risks associated with slips, trips and falls and take measures that will ensure people can move about the workplace safely:
- Spillages. Clean up all spillages immediately. Use a cleaning agent if required. If the floor is wet use appropriate signs to tell people the floor is still wet and extra care is required or use another route.
- Trailing cables. Try and place equipment to avoid cables crossing pedestrian routes, use cable guards to cover cables where required.
- Change of surface from wet to dry. Ensure suitable footwear, warn of risks by using signs, locate doormats where these changes are likely
- Rugs/mats. Where they cannot be eliminated, make sure rugs mats are securely fixed and that edges do not present a trip hazard.
- Slippery floor surfaces. Assess the cause and treat accordingly, for example treat chemically and use appropriate cleaning materials and methods. In some cases you may require to repair or replace the floor surface.
- Changes in level and slopes. Improve visibility, lighting, provide hand rails, add apparent tread or other floor markings
- Poor lighting. Improve lighting levels and placement of lighting to provide a more even lighting level of all floor areas.
- Footwear. Ensure workers choose suitable footwear, with the correct type of sole. If the work requires special protective footwear the employer should provide it free of charge
Source: McCormack Benson Health and Safety Ltd