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A Guide to Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace

A Guide to Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace
Posted: 16th February 2021

Slips, trips and falls are the most common cause of injury at work. According to the latest HSE statistics, slips, trips and falls accounted for approximately 37% of all workplace injuries during 2019/20. This can be split into 29% being slips, trips or falls on the same level and 8% being a fall from height. The rate of non-fatal injuries to workers shows a generally downward trend but has been largely flat in recent years.

Most of these accidents resulted in minor injuries and an absence from work. However, these absences can cause significant financial loss to a company. Conducting thorough risk assessments allows improvements in accident prevention which can continue to be made by assessing each incident critically and constructively. 

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to assess risks, including slipping and tripping risks, and where necessary take action to address them. A risk assessment is about taking sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace, for example using doormats to stop the floor from becoming slippery.

Walk through your workplace and speak to your employee’s and other people to get their views of the potential hazards and risks. Then together with your employees, decide what can be practically taken care of to reduce the risks. It is important to take action once a hazard has been identified in the workplace.

Identify hazards such as places where there are spillage risks or uneven floor surfaces and find an appropriate solution. Learn from every accident in the workplace, moving closer towards a goal of eliminating injuries completely. If an accident does occur, review the reasons as to why it happened and come to solutions for how it can be avoided in the future. Review what you are doing to prevent these hazards on a regular basis.

From the processes implemented after a risk assessment, solutions can range from training to the wearing of appropriate PPE. Safety footwear, for example, plays a significant role in preventing these types of accidents in the workplace. Safety footwear offers important safety attributes such as slip resistance along with new technology and special materials to make sure your employees have the best protection against slipping and tripping hazards available.

If you begin to see improvements in the rates of accidents and injuries due to slips, trips or falls in the workplace, aim to continue the reduction until you have eliminated them completely. Ensure that your business continues to safeguard against accidents in the workplace.Guidance on slips and trips along with a hazard spotting checklist has been issued by the Health and Safety Executive and can be found here. You can use this checklist to feed into your broader health and safety risk assessment process. The HSE also has a free online learning tool, called the Slips and Trips eLearning Package, referred to as ‘STEP’. The tool is designed for both employers and workers in all sectors, providing help on assessing and managing slip and trip risks in the workplace. It provides an overview of slips and trips, how they are caused and how to prevent them, from introductory to advanced level.

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