According to the Health and Safety Executive, slips, trips and falls are the single most common cause of major incidents in UK workplaces, accounting for 20% of all reported specified (major) injuries in 2016/17.
The key risk factors are:
- Poor lighting that prevents people seeing obstructions, slippery surfaces etc.
- Damaged or incorrect flooring.
- Obstructions and objects left lying around.
- Inappropriate footwear.
- Assess the risks to workers, decide how significant the risks are, prevent or control the risks and develop a clear management plan.
- Consult with the workforce and their representatives about risk assessments
- Ensure everyone is aware of the risk assessments and procedures in place.
Control methods or risk reduction techniques must be used to:
- Ensure conditions are correct from the start. Ensure flooring and lighting are fit for purpose and have the appropriate surface roughness characteristics.
- Provide staff with information and training on good working practice.
- Adopt a programme of planned preventative maintenance and undertake repairs when identified.
- Where floors may become wet or contaminated, ensure they are regularly inspected and dried immediately.
- Ensure spillages are promptly cleaned up.
- Ensure appropriate signage is displayed when areas are being cleaned
and removed when the floor can be used normally.
- Ensure all accidents are investigated and staff made aware of the findings
and actions taken.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS WHEN IDENTIFYING HAZARDS
When identifying hazards consideration should be given to issues which may increase the likelihood of an incident occurring or the seriousness of any injury, for example where the slip or trip hazard exists on or near to stairs. Similarly, slips or trips near to plant and equipment, particularly moving equipment raises the level of control that would be considered ‘reasonably practicable’.
The key areas of health and safety law relevant to slips, trips and falls are:
- The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA).
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
- The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
- The Safety Representatives and Safety Committees
- Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957.