Slips, Trips and Falls result in thousands of injuries every year. The most common ones are musculoskeletal injuries, cuts, bruises, fractures and dislocations but more serious injuries can occur.
Slips occur when a person’s foot loses traction with the ground surface due to wearing inappropriate footwear or when walking on slippery surfaces such as those that are highly polished, wet or greasy.
Trips occur when a person unexpectedly catches their foot on an object or surface. In most cases people trip on low obstacles that are not easily noticed , such as uneven edges in flooring, loose mats, opened drawers, untidy tools or cables from electrical equipment.
Falls can result from a slip or trip but many can also occur during falls from low heights such as steps, stairs and curbs, falling into a hole or ditch or into a body of water.
Legal duties and obligations to prevent falls
As well as the moral duty of employers to protect employees and members of the public. The regulations include obligations to protect employees and the public from risks associated with slips, trips and falls. The following regulations also apply:
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, these regulations cover all aspects of the workplace, including a requirement that floors are suitable, in good condition and free from obstructions. People must also be able to move around the workplace safely.
Assessing the risks of slips, trips and falls
The HSE recommend a five-step approach to risk assessment in the workplace. The risk of slips, trips and falls should always be considered.
» Look for slip and trip hazards around the workplace, including floor coverings and their condition, uneven floors, trailing cables and areas that are sometimes slippery due to spillages.
» Decide who might be harmed and how. Who comes into the workplace? Are they at risk? Are some groups more at risk than other?
» Consider the risks. Are there already measures in place to deal with the risks?
» Record your findings if you have 5 or more employees.
» Regularly review the assessment. If any significant changes take place, make sure that all precautions are still adequate to deal with the risks.
Reducing the risks of Slips, Trips and Falls
Employers have a duty to make sure they protect people in the workplace from the risks of slips, trips and falls but everyone can help to avoid such accidents.
Reducing the risks is usually easy, costs little or no money and often has other benefits:
» 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 that extra care is needed.
» Try to place equipment to avoid cables crossing pedestrian routes and use cable guards to cover cables where required.
» Ensure suitable footwear is worn when there is a change of surface from wet to dry, use signs and locate doormats where these changes are likely.
» Make sure rugs or mats are securely fixed and the edges do not present a trip hazard.
» Improve lighting levels and placement of lighting to provide a more even lighting level over all floor levels.
As an employer, you are legally required to ensure the Health & Safety of all employees and anyone who may be affected by their activities. Safety Media’s Slips Trips & Falls interactive course will provide the viewer with advice on how to identify dangers and risks in the workplace.
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