Getting to Grips with Slips and Trips

Health and safety statistics on the HSE website show slipping and tripping to be the single most common cause of major injury in UK workplaces. Slipping and tripping are also often what initially causes other types of accidents e.g. scalding, falls from height and machinery accidents.

Slips and trips are responsible for:

  • £512 million costs to employers per year.
  • £133 million costs to the NHS per year.
  • Over 33% of all major injuries every year.
  • More than 50% of serious injuries caused to members of the public in workplaces.
  • 1 in 3 falls from height deaths and injuries.

Most slips occur because of wet floor conditions or leaks. Most trips can be attributed to poor housekeeping. Slips and trips can be easily prevented by taking a few simple and cost effective measures including:

  • Good training and supervision e.g. IOSH Working Safely.
  • Ensuring the effective management of spills and having clean up policies in place i.e. good housekeeping.
  • The use of appropriate flooring in areas that need to be regularly cleaned, are likely to get wet or suffer from food and other spillages.
  • The choice and use of suitable footwear.
  • The design of the workplace and work activities.

Avoiding Spills and Trips – What We Can Learn from Case Studies?

Hospital trust improves floor cleaning after a slip

A hospital worker opened the door of a meeting room and stepped into the corridor. She slipped and fell, as the vinyl floor had just been cleaned and was still wet.

Concerns were raised about leaving the floor wet thus creating a slip hazard; that no suitable barriers were in place to warn people that a slip hazard was present; the wet corridor floor could be accessed from adjoining rooms; the cleaning of the floor was carried out when the corridor would still be heavily used and the cleaner had inadequate training and supervision.

Improved procedures were put in place to include cleaning floors in smaller sections, followed by dry mopping, use of cones and barriers to warn people and circulation of the lessons learnt from this incident and the remedial actions taken.

Tackling slip problems in a manufacturing bakery

Staff in manufacturing and ancillary areas of a manufacturing bakery were experiencing slip problems. The problems were caused by a range of different floor finishes on different parts of the site; the floors were often exposed to harsh wear and treatment. The company introduced several changes to try to reduce slip risks.

Staff were issued with different types ‘anti-slip’ footwear. Measures such as drip trays around machines and conveyors were introduced to reduce and capture potential spillages – making floor contamination much less.

Further case studies can be viewed at: www.hse.gov.uk/slips/casestudies.htm.

The HSE provide help in spotting and risk assessing slip and trips hazards. Find out more at: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ck4.pdf and www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg225.pdf.

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