It's no secret that slips, trips and falls are a major problem for employers and employees alike.
In fact, they accounted for 31% of all non-fatal workplace injuries during 2017/18, according the The Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Around 172,050 cases were self-reported by employees. This statistic is particularly important when you consider 75% of all self-reported accidents result in up to seven days absence, meaning 130,000 work days are lost annually.
This is of great cost to employers (who spend £73m per year on employee leave due to slips, trips and falls) and also employees who receive SSP (which is likely to be less than their full wage). And that's not to mention the physical pain and trauma for the individual involved in the incident!
Yet workplace slips, trips and falls are simple to prevent.
So, in this article, I'm going to dig into 8 easy measures you can put in place to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls.
1. Keep Ship Shape & Tidy
This will sound massively obvious (because it is), but all walkways should be clear and unobstructed.
No debris, no running cables, no boxes cluttering up the path. If walkways are clear of objects, the risk of falling over greatly reduces - as does the potential of a spill that could cause a slipping hazard.
It's also important to bring particular attention to filing cabinets and drawers. They might not seem like an obvious choice of adversary, but leaving them open can lead to injury - so it's best to encourage everyone to keep them closed when not in use!
2. Clean Up Spills ASAP
We're all human and, unfortunately, spills happen. (I should get that trademarked).
Whether it's a cup of tea that's tragically knocked over, or something rather more pressing like a chemical spill - it's important to clean it up immediately to minimise the risk of someone slipping.
It's also worth noting certain liquids can penetrate surfaces. When this happens, it can cause the surface to become more slippery than it was before cleaning. As such, it's vital to make sure you have the right cleaning chemicals and equipment for specific spillages, and to place warning signs around the slip hazard.
For environmental spills, such as oil, you'll need to use a spill kit.
Again, it sounds pretty straightforward, but all workplace areas must be illuminated adequately so people can see where they're going and if any hazards are in their way.
Don't forget outdoor areas, such as car parks, which also need adequate lighting (especially in winter months!).
Pretty sure we've all seen and heard the 'Mind The Gap' messages when travelling on trains.
In a similar way, you should use health and safety signs in appropriate places to identify areas with slip, trip and fall hazards. For example, you could place a sign to indicate uneven ground, bringing the hazard to people's attention so they can be more careful.
Reflective tape can also be used in some circumstances to highlight the problem area further.
5. Check Floor Conditions
This goes for both indoors and outdoors!
For indoor areas you should make sure flooring, such as carpet tiles, haven't come loose as these are a tripping hazard.
Outdoor areas should be checked for cracks and holes in pavements. It's best to repair any problems immediately and place warning signs nearby to alert people to the hazard.
6. Stairs and Handrails
Stairs are one of the most common places for slips, trips and falls to happen.
For this reason, all stairs should have handrails. Additionally, you can use reflective tape to highlight the top and bottom of the stairs.
7. step ladders
We have super high windows in our workplace kitchen. For anyone under 6ft, there's no chance of opening or closing them with feet still firmly on the ground (I know. I've tried.). That's why we've got an easily accessible step ladder stored in the kitchen, so people can use it to open and close the windows as needed without clambering about on kitchen counters or chairs (dangerous and undignified).
This is just one example, but there are lots of scenarios where step ladders are useful to mitigate the risk of falls.
Moral of the story: make step ladders available for employees to reach heights safely!
8. Safety Footwear
Lastly, your workforce must wear safety footwear which is appropriate for the conditions they're working in. Some footwear even offers ankle support, providing a last line of defence if a slip or trip does happen.
As a leading UK supplier of personal protective equipment (PPE) and workwear, we have a great range of safety footwear for you to choose from. Take a look at a few of our favourites below and get in touch for any specific requirements or advice!
GIANT Nelson Safety Boot with Midsole
Product Code: 8704
Certification: EN 20345, S3, SRC
- A great performing safety boot with composite midsole and toecap for excellent protection.
- Made from high quality, premium aniline leather, this product is 100% metal free.
- Features an ergonomic ankle design and TPU ankle and heel component for increased ankle support.
- Breathable fabric side panels keep the boot comfortable, even in warm weather.
- Innovative 'one pull' speed lacing design makes this boot quick and easy to put on.
- Additional features include a water resistant upper, rollover protective scuff cap, bellows tongue design, reflective stripes on side panels and ball and heel cushioning with shock absorber.
- Complete with a comfort+ triple density, antibacterial and anti-fungal insole.
MILLSTONE Waterproof Safety Boot
Product Code: 5840
Certification: EN 20345, S3, SRC
- A very popular choice in industries that demand high quality performance industrial footwear.
- Steel toecap and midsole.
- Waterproof and breathable.
- Lightweight and extremely comfortable.
- Energy absorbing heel.
- Heat and slip-resistant sole.