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Preventing falls, slips and trips

Published: 12/07/18

Preventing falls, slips and trips

As your insurance broker we aim to work with you and insurers on all issues of risk management. This latest edict on preventing slips and trips in the workplace comes courtesy of leading insurer Aviva.

Slips, trips and falls are the leading cause of major injuries in the workplace. These injuries can be devastating for the individual involved.

According to statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive, in 2016/17 slips, trips and falls accounted for:

  • 29% of all employee non-fatal injuries
  • 45% of all reported major injuries
  • 25% of over-seven-day injuries to employees.

All employers should assess the risk of slips and trips in the workplace, to ensure the safety of employees, visitors and contractors. Similarly, anyone who is in control of premises needs to manage the risks of slipping and tripping.

Assessing the risks of slips, trips and falls

A risk assessment helps you understand what sensible precautions are required to control the hazards in your workplace, for example:

  • Specifying an appropriate type of flooring for the environment, usage and footfall.
  • Implementing an effective cleaning regime and inspection system.
  • Having procedures for attending to spillages and contamination.
  • Implementing procedures for inclement weather.
  • Using doormats to stop rain water being tracked-in and making the floor slippery.

The risk assessment process might include a ‘heat map’; plotting all slips, trips and falls incidents by location to identify areas of highest footfall and high risk areas such as wet leisure areas, changing rooms, poolside, station platforms and outside spaces.

Some of the key hazards you might consider are:

  • Uneven steps or steps that are not uniform in dimension
  • Poor lighting
  • Changes in level
  • Slopes
  • Unsuitable flooring
  • Inappropriate footwear
  • Trailing pipes and cables
  • Damaged floor surfaces (both internal and external)
  • Poor housekeeping
  • Vulnerable users

As few workplaces stay the same, it is essential to review what you are doing on an on-going basis.  

  • Stop floors becoming contaminated
  • Use the right cleaning methods
  • Consider the flooring and work environment
  • Get the right footwear
  • Think about people and organisational factors

Housekeeping

The HSE estimates that 50% of all trip hazards result from poor housekeeping. Good housekeeping is the most important method of preventing slips, trips and falls. Examples of good housekeeping include:

  • Cleaning all spills immediately.
  • Marking spills and wet areas with appropriate signage.
  • Mopping spillages or sweeping debris from floors.
  • Removing obstacles from walkways and always keeping them free of clutter.
  • Covering cables that cross walkways.
  • Keeping walkways well lit.
  • Promptly replacing broken/defective light bulbs and faulty switches. 

Without good housekeeping practices, any other preventive measures such as installation of sophisticated flooring, specialty footwear or even training on techniques of walking and safe falling will never be fully effective.

Have you heard about GRIP?

GRIP, a practical footwear rating scheme developed by the Health and Safety Laboratory, uses rigorous, scientific testing to measure and grade the slip resistance of footwear. This enables employers to choose the most appropriate footwear for their working environments to protect their employees, reduce slipping accidents and avoid the costs of slip-related work absences.

This information, with more detailed explanation is covered in Aviva's Loss Prevention Standard, Top Tips for Trips, it also includes a handy check list that can be tailored to your own organisation.

Click here to download.

 

 

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