Many workplace injuries are caused by a slip, trip, or falls from heights.
As an employer, you must make sure that your employees are safe during work. That’s because slips and trips in the workplace can cause injuries can lead to permanent injury (and even death).
Slips and trips have both visible and hidden costs for employers, like compensation penalties and business damages.
In this guide, we'll go what slips, trips, and falls are; the law around them; and how employers can prevent them.
What causes slips, trips, and falls?
Unfortunately, slips, trips, and falls are very common in most workplaces. They happen because of a number of reasons. For example:
- Trailing cables.
- Not having enough light.
- Wet floors (from water, liquids, or grease).
- Clutter (like empty boxes).
- Unsuitable coverings.
- Uneven or damaged floor surfaces.
- Improper housekeeping.
A good approach to identify slip, trip, and fall hazards in your work area is to have a discussion with your workers and perform a risk assessment.
UK law on slips, trips, and falls in the workplace
The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to maintain the health & safety of all workers (and anybody affected by their work) to the greatest extent possible.
Employers are required by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to identify these risks. They are legally obligated to take appropriate measures to address slip and trip risks.
According to the Workplace (Health, Safety, and Welfare) Regulations 1992, work floors must be suitable, in good condition, and free of hazards. It should be safe for people to move around.
How to prevent slips, trips, and falls in the workplace
There are several easy ways to reduce the risk of slips and trips at work. The following are some good ways to do this:
Maintain good lighting
Poor lighting in the workplace is a very common problem that contributes to the number of accidents. Be cautious to follow the following guidelines to avoid them:
- Use appropriate lighting on walkways, stairs, and other areas that are often visited.
- Make sure all work areas are well lit.
- Repair any ineffective or broken lights as soon as possible.
- Make light switches easily accessible and reachable.
Create good housekeeping practices in the workplace
Good housekeeping is critical for all types of businesses. All workplace safety plans should include housekeeping, and every employee should participate.
If your company's housekeeping standards are poor, it will lead to a higher number of injuries and accidents.
A successful housekeeping plan should include:
- Wiping up all spills immediately.
- Tacking or taping non-flat mats, rugs, and carpets.
- Replacing faulty switches and outdated light bulbs.
- Keeping file cabinets and storage drawers closed.
- Marking spills and wet areas with signs.
Avoid creating obstacles in walkways
When it comes to preventing accidents, keeping clearly defined pathways for employee movement is critical. This often entails implementing clean-up processes to ensure that these pathways are kept as clear as possible.
Some good solutions are:
- Clear all workspaces, storage areas, and walkways.
- Cables should not be strung across these areas.
- Keep any type of obstruction out of these places.
- Inspect for potential hazards on a regular basis.
Make sure employees wear proper shoes on walking surfaces
Footwear can make a significant difference in preventing falls. Generally, there should always be enough traction between footwear and the walking surfaces.
Whenever the walking surface changes from a dry to a wet floor, suitable footwear should be provided for staff to prevent slips, trips, and falls. It is also important to consider the type of heels worn and how smooth the soles are.
Whenever a fall-related injury is being looked into, footwear must always be examined to determine whether it was involved in the incidence.
Each person in the workplace should be required to wear proper footwear for the requirements of their job. And remember, employees must tie their shoelaces properly.
Provide training to your employees
Fatalities and injuries do happen, although the vast majority of these injuries are preventable.
It's beneficial to provide training to your staff on minor injuries. These can include sprains, strains, and major injuries like burns.
Educate them on the causes of a slip, trip or falls at work. And the best practices on how to prevent each of them at work.
Get expert advice on slips, trips, and falls with Peninsula
As an employer, it is always your responsibility to ensure that adequate precautions are in place to prevent accidents in your workplace.
Slips and trips can cause serious injuries, imposing significant costs for employers that can exceed hundreds of pounds each year.
Peninsula offers 24/7 Health & Safety advice which is available 365 days a year. We take care of everything when you work with our experts.
Want to find out more? Contact us on 0800 029 4376 and book a free consultation with one of our Health & Safety consultants.