Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common causes of workplace injuries and can have serious consequences, including broken bones, head injuries, and even fatalities. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), slips, trips, and falls (on the same level) are the leading cause of workplace injuries in the UK.
The good news is that most of these types of accidents can be prevented with the right measures in place.
Common Causes Of Slips, Trips, & Falls In The Workplace
There are many different factors that can contribute to slips, trips, and falls in the workplace. Some of the most common causes include:
It’s important that employers understand what commonly causes slips, trips and falls at work so that they can make changes or put procedures in place to prevent them from happening.
Common Slip, Trip & Fall Hazards
Identifying potential hazards is also vital in preventing accidents in the workplace. Some examples of common slip, trip and fall hazards at work include:
Once the hazards are known, employers can take action to address them and further reduce the risk of accidents and injuries in the future.
Preventing Slips, Trips & Falls At Work
Some preventative measures that employers can put in place to reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls at work include:
- Conduct regular risk assessments. Most importantly, employers have a legal duty to conduct regular risk assessments to identify any potential hazards at work so they can be eliminated or at least reduced as much as possible. This includes assessing the risks associated with each task or area of the workplace.
- Keep the workplace clean and tidy. Employers should ensure that the workplace is kept clean and tidy at all times to prevent slips, trips, falls and other types of accidents. This includes keeping floors clear of obstructions, clutter and spills, removing any trip hazards such as electric cables, and ensuring that walkways are well-lit.
- Provide suitable footwear. Employers should provide suitable footwear for employees, particularly those working in environments where the risk of slips, trips, and falls is high.
- Use warning signs. Warning signs should be used to warn employees, visitors and customers of potential hazards, such as wet floors or uneven surfaces.
- Provide adequate training. Providing employees with adequate training is essential for the health and safety of everybody in the workplace. This should include training and information on identifying hazards, safe working practices, and using the appropriate PPE.
- Use slip-resistant flooring. Employers should use the appropriate type of flooring for specific areas of the workplace, such as slip-resistant flooring in areas where the risk of slips and falls is high, for example, in kitchens, canteens and bathrooms.
- Conduct regular maintenance. Regular maintenance of the workplace should be a priority, including repairing any damaged flooring, stairs, steps, or handrails.
- Encourage hazard reporting. Employers should encourage employees to report to them or their supervisor any hazards they spot in the workplace.
By implementing the above measures, employers can help reduce the risk of injuries from slips, trips, and falls in the workplace, and create a safer working environment for everybody.
The Potential Consequences Of Failing To Prevent Slips, Trips & Falls At Work
The potential consequences of not taking steps to prevent slips, trips, and falls at work can be severe and could result in:
- Lost productivity. When employees are injured at work, they may be unable to work for a period of time, potentially resulting in lost productivity and increased costs for the employer.
- Legal action. Employers who do not take adequate steps to prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace may be liable for legal action, particularly if they are found to be negligent in their duty of care towards their employees.
- Increased insurance costs. Employers may face increased insurance costs if they have a high number of workplace accidents, particularly if these result in work injury compensation claims.
- Damage to reputation. Workplace accidents can damage an employer’s reputation, particularly if they are seen as being avoidable simply by conducting adequate risk assessments and taking preventative measures.
It’s important to note that employers not only have a duty of care toward their employees’ health and safety but also to anyone who may be affected by their work activities, including visitors, customers, or contractors.
Responding To Slip, Trip & Fall Incidents
If somebody is hurt in a slip, trip or fall at work, it’s important to provide prompt first aid to the injured person. Employers are required by law to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel so that employees can receive immediate attention. In the case of a serious injury, an ambulance should be called immediately.
Reporting The Incident
All accidents and incidents at work should be reported and documented in the accident book. This allows employers to investigate the cause of the incident and take action to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
Investigation & Prevention
Following a slip, trip or fall accident at work, employers should conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause and take action to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. This may include changes to workplace design or procedures, additional employee training, or the use of new equipment or PPE.
Slips, trips, and falls are the most common cause of workplace injuries in the UK and can have serious consequences for both employers and employees. Therefore, it’s important that both employers and employees take preventative measures to reduce the risk of these accidents happening.
Different workplaces have different hazards and inevitably different preventative strategies. For example, in retail environments, slip-resistant flooring and keeping merchandise off the floor can be effective in preventing slips, trips and falls. In the hospitality sector, for businesses such as restaurants and hotels, ensuring that floors are clean and dry, spills are promptly cleaned up, and appropriate signage is used to warn customers of potential hazards will help prevent accidents and incidents.
However, the key messages to take away from this guide should be the importance of identifying and addressing hazards, conducting regular risk assessments, providing personal protective equipment, and providing employee training to prevent slips, trips and falls in the workplace from happening.