Slips, Trips and Falls
Slips, trips and falls are the most frequently occurring accidents at the workplace. On average slips, trips and falls account for approximately 40% of all reported major injuries and can lead to the other serious types of accidents, for example falls from height. Slips and trips are also the most reported injury to the members of public.
The most common factors contributing to slips, trips and falls at work include:
- Uneven or poorly maintained flooring/walkways/pavements
- Tripping over wires or boxes
- Poor lighting
- Wet floors – due to spills and splashes of liquids
- Hazardous storage of tools and equipment during maintenance operations e.g. leaving them in a walkway
- The use of unsuitable floor cleaning
How to Reduce the Risk?
Managers should also ensure that:
- Secure and obvious handrails and grab rails are fitted for all steps and stairs — on both sides if necessary for stability — and in bathrooms and toilets
- A planned preventive maintenance programme is in place, linked to regular risk assessment inspections, to ensure that all floor and other entry and exit routes have flat, even surfaces
- Protruding or obstructing items of furniture or equipment, especially at low level, are removed
- Lighting levels are adequate to enable people to see obstructions and potentially slippery or uneven areas
- Lights are replaced, repaired or cleaned whenever light levels become too low and new lights should be installed wherever poor lighting levels are identified as a hazard
- A full risk assessment has been completed for any staff working at height and that the staff concerned are trained for the role and are properly equipped and supervised
Checklist For Controlling Measures To Prevent Slips, Trips And Fall
- Keep the workplace areas clean
- Ensure appropriate storage of equipment, stationary or other potential obstacles
- Ensure faults, particularly to floor coverings are reported and dealt with
- Ensure adequate inspections of work areas are carried out by someone at regular intervals
- Ensure obstacles in the walkways are removed, protected by barriers or made easier to see
- Ensure lighting systems are adequate
- Ensure adequate cable management systems are available and used where cables have to cross walkways
- Ensure that waste is not permitted to accumulate in inappropriate areas or to block the walkways
- Good-quality doormats are used around entrances and exits to the outside with doorways protected from the weather and the ingress of rain
- Regular checks are made to ensure that worn or frayed carpets, and raised carpet edges, are identified and repaired or replaced
- A full risk assessment has been completed for any staff working in a high risk role, e.g. at a height, ensuring the staff are trained for the role and properly equipped and supervised
- Use warning signs
Follow these simple principles of controlling and identifying the risks of falls caused by slips, trips or falls:
- Be aware of slip trip and fall hazards
- Prevent slips, trips and falls at the design stage – ensure appropriate flooring with a slip resistant surface is laid and suitable, sufficient storage is available
- Clean up any spillages immediately and ensure floors are properly dried after cleaning
- Encourage all staff to wear sensible shoes
- Regularly check your area to identify and remedy any slip, trip and fall hazards
- Provide adequate lighting – poor lighting or glare can cause a slip, trip or fall
- Concentrate when walking, particularly on stairs
- Hold on handrails when using stairs
- Avoid running in the workplace, particularly when carrying something
- Ensure any wet/damp floor has a wet floor sign to draw attention to the hazard
Electrical leads can be a particular trip problem; especially for staff in office areas where having a lot of electrical equipment is now standard. Such areas should be well designed to avoid the problem of trailing leads; cables should be securely fixed to surfaces wherever possible.
What Can Employers Do?
- Risk and danger assessment
- Control hazards
- Encourage vigilance
- Invest in fall alarms
What Can Employees Do?
- Keep the workplace neat and tidy
- Report immediately if any hazards are found
- Identify potential hazards
Slips, Trips And Falls Risk Assessments
Employers must carry out a general risk assessment and working at height risk assessment to ensure that no hazards are being exposed to people during work activities. Risk assessments for working at a height are particularly vital; circumstances could easily change and put people at risk of falling.
General risk assessments enable employers to spot any slip, trip and fall hazards that may be present on the premises and put in place control and preventive measures.