Slips, Trips and Falls at Work - How to Avoid Them and Stay Safe

Did you know that, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the most common types of workplace accidents are trips, slips and falls? In fact, 16-19% of all claims for accidents in the workplace are a result of injuries caused by slips, trips and falls.

Slips, trips and falls can happen in any workplace, so it is very important to take steps to avoid them. Any employee, visitor, member of the public or contractor on the premises can be at equal risk of slipping and falling, so it is the responsibility of employers to ensure that the environment is as safe as possible.

A slip or a fall might seem minor, but it can actually cause a serious accident. A bad fall could cause a broken bone, bruised tailbone, fracture, sprain or even a head injury or a spinal injury. The fall can even be more serious if there are other hazards in the area.

What Causes Slips in the Workplace?

There are many reasons why someone might lose their footing and fall in the workplace. First of all, uneven floor surfaces can cause workers to lose their balance and make it more likely that they will fall. Also wet floors are dangerous, as well as unsuitable floor coverings. Changes in levels can cause workers to trip and they can also trip over trailing cables. Poor lighting is another common cause of slips and falls, as well as poor housekeeping and objects being left in the way.

One of the major causes of slips in the workplace is food and liquid spillages. If there is a spill, it is important to be vigilant and clean it up as much as possible. If the liquid is greasy, the right cleaning agent must be used to deal with it so that the floor is not left greasy afterward. Also, you should make sure that the floor is not left wet afterward, or you should put up a signpost that will ensure that people do not walk on the wet floor.

Avoiding Trips and Falls in the Workplace

Here are some tips that you can keep in mind that will help you to avoid slips and falls in the workplace:
  • Always clean up spills as soon as possible. There should be a signpost placed near the site so that you can let people know not to walk on the slippery area. Many customers at supermarkets have made injury claims because they hurt themselves on a slippery surface that was not sign posted.
  • In wet or snowy weather, you should make sure that the walkway in front of your business is shovelled and that grit or salt is placed down. Also, make sure that there is a mat in the entrance way to avoid wetness and slippery floors when people enter the building.
  • If there is a change in floor level, an unexpected step or slope can be a tripping hazard. Do what you can to make the change in level more visible so that you can reduce the risk. This includes adding bright floor markings, a ramp with tread markets, hand rails or improving the lighting.
  • Make sure that employees are always wearing the right footwear for the job. The right footwear can greatly reduce the risk of falls and the wrong footwear can cause the worker to slip and fall.
  • If there is an area with low lighting levels in your workplace, see if you can add more lighting. A more even lighting level will help your workers to notice the differences in the flooring.
  • Try to avoid placing cables and wires across a walkway. However, if you have to then you should cover them up with a cable guard.
  • Take a look at your flooring surface. Sometimes, even when they don’t have a spill on them, a floor can be slippery enough to cause a hazard.
  • If there is a place in your workplace where people walk from a dry area to a wet area or vice versa, this can make it likely for them to slip. Make sure that the change in surface is clearly signposted and perhaps include a doormat for extra grip.
  • Running or moving quickly through the workplace can also make it more likely for accidents to occur. This is because you will be less likely to notice a potential hazard and avoid it. Workers should always walk while indoors so that they can watch carefully where they are going.
  • Make sure that all rugs and mats are not a tripping hazard, especially when they have bumps in them, are curled around the edges or are not attached to the surface beneath them. A safe workplace will have as few rugs as possible, but if you must have them you should ensure that they are totally flat and secured to the surface that they are on.
  • Obstacles on the floor, such as children’s toys, handbags, heaters and other things can be a tripping hazard if they are not expected. Make sure that all walkways are kept clear of these objects.

Slips, Trips and Falls Training Can Help

It is important for all employees in the workplace to have the correct avoiding Slips, Trips and Falls training for their profession. Training helps with a number of things, including knowing how to prevent the risk of slips and falls in the workplace.

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