10 tips to prevent slips, trips and falls in the workplace

10 tips to prevent slips, trips and falls in the workplace

Replace carelessness with carefulness to reduce workplace accidents

Slips, trips and falls are high on the list of the most common workplace accidents. They can lead to injury and extended periods of absence, and, in the worst of cases, disability or even death. According to the slips, trips and falls statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive in December 2017, in 2016/17, slips, trips and falls accounted for:

  • 609,000 non-fatal injuries
  • 175,000 absences of more than seven days
  • 434,000 absences of up to seven days

Approximately 30% of all workplace injuries can be attributed to slips, trips and falls, with an estimated cost to UK employers of more than £1 billion each year. I think you’ll agree, these are huge numbers. No matter what size your business or whether you are a self-employed sole trader, a slip, trip or fall will negatively impact your reputation and your finances.

These tips will help you prevent slips, trips and falls in your workplace.

1.      Include slips, trips and falls in your H&S policy

When you develop your health and safety policy, ensure that you include the potential for slips, trips and falls. Include policies that promote ‘good housekeeping’, keeping work floors clean and tidy, and ensuring that employees are trained to spot hazards and deal with them.

2.      Encourage employees to report hazards

Good health and safety in the workplace is in everyone’s best interests. Make sure that you encourage your people to report hazards or incidents, and provide the means for them to do so easily. And if a hazard is reported, make sure it is dealt with immediately.

3.      Provide adequate lighting

Try walking along a corridor with your eyes closed. It’s not easy, is it? Poor lighting will increase the possibility of someone falling over. Hazards are hidden in the shadows. Remove the shadow by installing proper lighting, and the hazard becomes less of a hazard.

4.      Let people know there is a slip, trip, or fall hazard

Not all hazards can be removed. Steps, gaps, uneven floors, etc. may all be immovable obstacles that pose a danger. Signpost the danger to raise awareness and reduce risk. Signposts can be visual or audio (“Mind the Gap” announcements on London underground stations, for example).

5.      Keep it clear of clutter

Everything has a place, and that place should never be in a corridor, passageway, or on the floor in an office. Keep traffic routes clear of clutter. People will only trip over an obstacle if there is an obstacle to be tripped over.

6.      Insist on appropriate footwear

Some surfaces are naturally slippery. Do you have rules about what footwear must be worn to prevent slips?

7.      Pay particular attention to your stairs

Stairs are one of the most dangerous places in an office or factory. People just don’t pay attention when climbing or descending them. Make sure that all carpets are fitted correctly, that there is reflective tape on the top and bottom stair, and that handrails are fitted.

8.      Bury those cables

Cables should be buried under the floor or behind walls. If this is impossible, then they must be taped securely to the floor. Then take measures to reroute these cables as quickly as possible so they do not cross walkways.

9.      Keep floors in good condition

Lifted floor tiles, cracks, loose-fitting carpets and holes are major ground level hazards. As soon as any of these are noticed, signpost the hazard and get them repaired.

10. Clean up spills now!

If a liquid or other dangerous substance is spilled, have it cleaned up immediately. Use warning signs to make people aware of the spill before, during, and after the spill has been cleaned.

Eliminate the ability to be careless

Most slips, trips and falls are put down to carelessness; “He wasn’t looking where he was going.” But whose carelessness is it? The employee’s, or the employer’s? When it comes to preventing slips, trips and falls in the workplace, a proactive attitude will help keep your people safe. And that is good business.

For more H&S tips, or to book your free, no-obligation demo and discover an easier way to comply with health and safety laws in the workplace, contact Sentry today.

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