Slips, Trips and Falls: Keep Your Business Safe

Paul Logan

January 20 2023

First published: 20th January 2023
Last updated: 20th January 2023

Slips, trips and falls: key health & safety considerations

There is a common misconception that slips, trips and falls are comical occurrences without any serious consequences.

Slips, trips and falls are in fact among the most common causes of serious accidents and injuries in Irish and European workplaces. This type of workplace accident is the main reason for absences of more than three days in European workplaces.

Employers often underestimate how costly slips, trips and falls can be for their business. Slips and trips can lead to disruption due to absences and in worst case scenarios compensation claims from staff or customers who have suffered injuries.

The statistics make uncomfortable reading for employers. Slips, trips and falls are the largest cause of accidents in all sectors from heavy manufacturing through to office work.  And every working day, seven people are hurt in workplace slips, trips or falls.

Every employer needs to take the necessary health & safety steps to guard against this common risk.

Employer and employee responsibilities  

First, let’s take a look at some general health & safety duties of both employers and staff under Irish health & safety legislation.

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 requires employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the design, provision and maintenance of a safe workplace with safe access and egress.

Employers also have key duties under health & safety legislation to identify workplace hazards, carry out risk assessments and publish a safety statement.

Employees should likewise be made aware of their responsibilities under the 2005 Act. Staff have a responsibility to take reasonable care for themselves and others, to co-operate with their employer on health & safety matters and to report dangers to their employer.   

What are the main causes of slips, trips and falls?

Factors that increase the risk of slips, trips and falls at work include wet surfaces, workplace steps or stairs and egress from vehicles.

It’s vital for employers to take appropriate control measures if risk assessments reveal any workplace-specific factors that increase the risk of slips, trips and falls at work.

Some key areas for business owners to focus on are:

  • Stairs and steps
  • Slippery surfaces
  • Exiting vehicles
  • Entrances and exits to premises

Injuries and Compensation

Employees who suffer injuries from a workplace slip or fall may need medical treatment and ongoing therapeutic assistance. Workers have even lost their lives as a result of slips, trips and falls.

A large proportion of claims received by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board continue to be related to slips, trips and falls.

If your business is found to have been negligent with respect to ensuring the health & safety of employees, clients and customers, you could face hefty compensation claims from injured parties.

Safeguard your business against the risks of slips, trips and falls

Every business owner needs to manage the risks that impact their workplace. Loose cables could be a hazard in one workplace while a poorly lit area may need attention in another.

What’s important is that you take a pro-active approach to preventing slips, trips and falls in your workplace to avoid absences, injuries and expensive compensation claims.

You can very often reduce the risk of slips and trips without spending any money. 

For help with updating your risk assessment, call us today on 1800 719 216 to speak with a Peninsula health & safety expert.

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