Slips and Trips
Statistics show slipping and tripping to be the single most common cause of major injury in UK workplaces. They account for 33% of all major injuries and 25% of the over-3 day injuries reported to the HSE. Just a slip and subsequent fall can have disastrous consequences. For example, one case involving a slip on a wet floor in a hotel lobby resulted in the injured person being paralysed for life.
The HSE estimate that slips and trips cost employers over £500 million a year. The estimated cost to society is over £800 million. The cost to the individual could be priceless!
Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, employers must ensure that their employees and anyone else who could be affected by their work (such as visitors, members of the public, etc.), are kept safe from harm and that their health is not affected. This means slip and trips risks must be controlled to ensure people do not slip, trip and fall.
It is a requirement under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 to prevent, or at least control, slips, trips and falls, so far as is reasonably practicable. Regulation 12 require floors to be suitable for the workplace and work activity, kept in good condition and kept free from obstructions. Also, people must be able to move around safely.
• Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
• Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (as amended)
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?
Risk assessments should be carried out to identify areas which may cause a serious risk of a slip, trip or fall. Kitchens are particularly prone to grease and water creating a slippery environment. Additionally, look out for trailing cables over floors and boxes in corridors or obstructions on stairs. You should look at removing the risk by designing out dangerous areas if possible, for example removing changes in floor level, or installing non-slip flooring. You should also remove obstructions and floor storage wherever possible, reduce spillages, remove trailing cables. You also need to consider slip resistant footwear for staff at high risk of slipping
If it is not possible to stop spillages, then it is necessary to adequately control the problem, e.g. by mopping up spillages as soon as possible and providing appropriate warning signs. You will need to ensure that staff training is adequate so that they are all aware of the need to report defects, and to clear spillages quickly, to reduce the risk of an accident.
- Preventing slips, trips and fall at work (INDG225) HSE
- Slips and trips: guidance for employers on identifying hazards and controlling risks (HSG155) (2002) HSE (ISBN 0 7176 1145 0)
- Slips and trips: guidance for the food processing industry (HSG156) (1996) HSE (ISBN 0 7176 0832 8)
- HSE website on Slips and Trips: www.hse.gov.uk/slips/index.htm
- HSE Slips Assessment Tool: www.hsesat.info
- HSE Slips and Trips eLearning package: www.hse.gov.uk/slips/step/index.htm
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