The single most common cause of injury in the workplace is slipping and tripping. The HSE estimate that the annual cost to employers is £750 million and is reported that every 25 minutes in the UK someone breaks or fractures a bone due to slips and trips or falling in the workplace. Slips, trips and falls account for 38% of all the major accidents every year.
The HSE website has some great advice and information regarding causes and prevention, we have summarised some of the points in this post but visit the HSE for more information. We can also help with the appropriate safety signs. See below for our ‘Slips & Trips’ Pack.
Causes and prevention of slips and trips
Slip and trip accidents happen for a number of reasons. The following model will help you understand the factors that can contribute to slip accidents and the action to take to prevent them. It is called the slip potential model. One or more of these factors may play a part in any slip accident, by systematically assessing these elements a potential slip may be prevented. The HSE website has detailed information on how to assess and deal with all of these elements.
Slip potential model
Over half of all trip accidents are caused by poor housekeeping, mainly by obstructions in walkways. Moveable temporary or free standing safety signs can alert people to the dangers caused by temporay obstructions or activities.The rest are caused by uneven surfaces. Where it isn’t practical to fix these uneven surfaces, for example steps etc., signage can be used to warn of these potential trip hazards. Preventing these accidents is often simple and cost-effective.
You need to get all three right (Design & maintenance,walkways and housekeeping), to prevent tripping accidents.
Trip potential triangle
- Check for a suitable walkway – Are they in the right place, are they being used, are they available for use?
- Where are the walkways going? What tasks are taking place on the walkway, is the task preventing the employee from seeing where he is going for example.
- It is not just good enough to have a walkway, it must be kept clear, no trailing wires, no obstructions.
- Employees and cleaners need to have ‘a see it, sort it’ attitude to ensure these and other work areas are kept clear. There should be regular inspections of work areas by Supervisors.
- Is the cleaning regime effective? Are there enough bins, storage facilities etc.?
Design and maintenance
Is the floor suitable for the environment, fitted correctly and properly maintained?
- Are the walkways wide enough & level? Are stairs suitable?
- Are risers consistent?
- Are nosings highlighted where necessary?
- Are usable handrails available?
- Is the lighting good enough for employees to see hazards?
- What about distractions that might prevent them from seeing where they are going?
Training and awareness of staff can be a good place to start in the prevention of accidents. Following a risk assessment appropriate signage can added to any hazards identified. Guidance posters can be used as part of your regular staff safety training.
We have put together a slips and trips pack to help you manage some of these potential hazards.