Preventing Slips And Trips In The Workplace
2nd August 2013
It is every employer’s duty to take all reasonably practicable steps to prevent slips, trips and falls in the workplace. Failing to do so can lead to staff absences, poor employee retention and workplace accident compensation claims, causing damage to a company’s bottom-line.
So how can you prevent slips and trips? There are some hazards that are specific to certain sectors; however there are a few rules that are relevant to almost every workplace.
Slipping Injury Claims And Flooring
You may not have any say in the flooring in your workplace, but if you are involved in selecting flooring, then consider which contaminants it will likely become exposed to. You will need to ensure that the surface will remain adequately rough in all anticipated conditions. If your workplace sees a high level of footfall and a large contaminant risk, then linoleum combined with regular cleaning regimes could be your best choice, whereas offices may be best-suited to carpeting.
Flooring has to be regularly maintained – if you see any damage or if the flooring is badly-fitted, then repair it immediately and prevent your workforce from accessing the damaged area, such as by creating barriers. This will help you to avoid a slip and trip injury claim. Accidents at work caused by poor flooring are almost always avoidable.
Ramps, Steps And Level Changes
A large number of workplace accident claims arise around ramps, level changes and steps. These areas should be marked and clearly highlighted, with non-slip features added if required. You should also ensure all staircases have banisters, as this can significantly reduce the chance of a trip. Lighting also plays a role – ensure lighting is bright enough for workers and the public to see the level change.
Slips and trips injuries caused around staircases can be particularly serious and frequently prove to be fatal.
Obstacles And Contamination
When people slip and trip on a properly-laid, even floor, it is almost always due to contamination and obstacles. This could be liquids, foods, dust, litter, grease, or people’s belongings. Tiled or linoleum surfaces near to entryways can be dangerous in wet weather, as people will bring rainwater in on their shoes, while offices with inadequate storage facilities could see employees leaving bags and coats on the floor, obstructing walkways.
The obstacle and contamination slip and trip injury risks in your workplace will depend on the exact nature of your business, but good housekeeping could likely prevent them. Health and Safety Executive statistics estimate that around half of all slips and trips could be prevented by proper housekeeping regimes.
Of course, cleaning methods can also lead to slips and trips. You will need to train cleaners in how to prevent people from entering a cleaning area when floors are wet, such as by cleaning during quiet periods and creating barriers to prevent access. Understanding which cleaning products to use for particular tasks and which detergents to use is also an essential part of safe cleaning systems.