Government figures show that slips and trips are the most common cause of major injuries at work and can happen almost anywhere. 95% of major slips result in broken bones and a slip can also be the initial cause for other types of accidents such as a fall from a height. On average, slips and trips are responsible for more than 1/3 of all reported major injuries and 20% of other reportable injuries to employees. More significantly, if you are in a service industry or a business that deals directly with the public, 50% of all reported accidents to members of the public that happen in a workplace are the result of a slip or trip.
Preventing these accidents would save employers the associated costs of the injuries and lost production or business opportunity estimated by insurance companies and others at £512,000,000 every year. Their prevention would also save the National Health Service treatment costs of over £130,000,000 per year.
Most slips occur in wet or contaminated conditions and most trips are due to poor housekeeping. The solutions are usually simple and cost effective; a common sense consideration of the risks should identify the necessary controls. These are likely to include;
• the prevention of contamination
• the management of spillages and timely cleaning regimes
• effective matting systems, where floors are known to be or become slippery
• suitable footwear – some shoe soles lose their grip on wet or incompatible floor surfaces
• the design of the workplace and work activities
• maintenance of plant and the work environment to avoid leaks and wet floors
• replacing damaged carpets and flooring
• the specification of slip-resistant flooring, when replacement or refurbishment is planned
• good and effective housekeeping
• the avoidance of trailing cables and hoses
• effective training
• effective supervision.
Although the solutions may be simple they are often overlooked. The biggest obstacles to putting the problems right include:
• people not taking the risks seriously
• little understanding of the causes of slipping
• thinking that slips and trips are inevitable
• poor application of risk assessment and management controls.
Peninsula Business Safety clients have access to simple pragmatic advice and guidance on preventing slips and trips whilst at work. Those who follow the advice and manage the risks will reap the benefit of a business that runs without the disruption caused by the incident itself, the inevitable intervention of a personal injury claim management company, escalating insurance premiums, and the potential for investigation by the enforcing authorities.
For any further information please call our 24 hour advice service on 0844 892 2772.