Slips, Trips or Falls

A slip, a trip or a fall at work are among the most common causes of workplace injury. Because they usually involve spillages or obstructions, with a little care and attention they are also the most avoidable. If you suffer a slip, trip or fall at work due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to make a claim.

Employers are required by law to ensure the health and safety of their employees so far as is reasonably practicable. This includes taking steps to manage and control the risks of slips, trips and falls in the workplace.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 specifically require employers to assess and reduce any slip and trip risks while the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 insist that floors are suitable, in good condition and free from any obstruction so people can move freely and safely.

More about slips, trips and falls at work

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) maintains that 50% of all accidents that involving slips, trips and falls at work are caused by obstructions left in walkways. They suggest this risk, like many others, could be reduced by employers and employees simply adopting good housekeeping practice.

Contamination of some kind is implicated in almost all slip or trip accidents. Flooring is available in various grades of slip resistance, but any floor will become slippery once contaminated by water, oil, grease, cardboard, product wrappings or dust.

This contamination could be a by-product of a work process, so even if impossible to prevent, employers should ensure it is removed quickly and effectively. Regular and effective cleaning should help to reduce the risk, but perversely, people often slip on floors that have been left wet after cleaning. Warning signs should be clearly displayed after cleaning if floors are wet.

Poor lighting (natural or otherwise) can make accidents more likely and the lack of handrails or guardrails in potentially dangerous areas can increase the risk of a slip or trip injury.

Having the correct footwear can play an important part in preventing slips and trips, however choosing the most appropriate slip-resistant work boots or shoes can be difficult. Even footwear that is BS EN 13287:2004 rated may not be suitable for certain work environments.