Slips, Trips and Falls

Last reviewed on 05/11/2012 14:43

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Slips and trips at work

Slips and trips frequently occur at work, but occasionally they may become serious - falling down stairs for example - and as an employer you have a duty to protect staff.

The most common causes of slips, trips and falls are:

  • uneven floor surfaces
  • unsuitable floor coverings, including loose or torn carpet (especially on stairs)
  • wet floors
  • changes in levels
  • trailing cables
  • poor housekeeping

Good housekeeping practice

Basic housekeeping can help reduce these hazards:

  • clean up all spillages immediately. If the floor is wet, use appropriate signs to indicate that extra care is required or use another route
  • try to place equipment to avoid cables crossing pedestrian routes. Use cable guards to cover cables where required
  • if the floor surface changes from wet to dry (e.g., when coming in from a wet path), warn of the risks by using signs and locate non-slip doormats where these changes are likely
  • where rugs or mats cannot be eliminated, make sure they are securely fixed and that the edges do not present a trip hazard
  • assess the cause of a slippery floor surface and treat it accordingly. For example, treat the surface chemically using appropriate cleaning materials and methods. In some cases, you may need to repair or replace the floor surface.
  • where there are changes in level and slopes, improve the visibility and lighting in that area, consider providing a handrail and add apparent tread or other floor markings
  • improve the lighting levels and the placement of lighting fixtures to provide a more even lighting level of all floor areas
  • ensure workers use suitable footwear with the correct type of sole. If the work requires special protective footwear, you will have to provide this free of charge.


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