Avoiding Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace

Peter Clark


11 Oct 2019


Whether your staff is in an office or on a construction site, every workplace has its hazards.

As an employer, you have a legal obligation to identify and control risks to your work environment. You’re required to consider all areas of the workplace, think about what might cause harm to your employees and take reasonable steps to prevent them.

It’s your responsibility to ensure the health & safety of your employees. This includes protecting them from slips, trips and fall hazards in the workplace.


Workplace hazards

All employers must ensure the health & safety of their employees, as well as anyone affected by their work. Legislation highlighting your responsibility for the safety of your employees includes:

According to the Health & Safety Executive’s (HSE) 2018 annual statistics on slips trips and falls in the workplace, from 2013/14 to 2017/18, injuries from such incidents accounted for 26% of fatal injuries and 31% of non-fatal injuries.

These figures highlight the importance of risk assessments to identify potential hazards in any work environment. This includes any activities, processes or substances that can injure or cause harm to the health and wellbeing of the people in your care.

Apart from the loss of staff and productivity, the HSE estimates the total costs of workplace self-reported injuries and ill health in 2016/17 was £15.0 billion.

The percentage of slips, trips, and falls in the workplace accounts for 35% of the overall cost, while ill-health makes for 65%.

The repercussions for breaching your duty of care varies. Depending on your organisation, this can be anything from financial to custodial penalties.


Causes of slips trips and falls in the workplace

There are many hazards that can affect those in your employment. These include physical, chemical, biological and ergonomic. To manage risks effectively, you’ll need to identify the common causes of these hazards in the workplace.

Some of the more common causes of falls, slips and trips in a work environment include:

  • Running cables.
  • Spills and leaks.
  • Inadequate lighting.
  • Loose carpets.
  • Uneven flooring.
  • Unsuitable floor coverings.

Remember, while the hazards mentioned here are general and apply to a variety of workplaces, you’ll also need to consider hazards that specifically affect your workforce.


How to reduce slips trips and falls in the workplace

The best way to protect your employees is to identify and manage workplace hazards.

Consider these steps as a guide to avoiding slips, trips, and falls in the workplace. With it, you can control, eliminate or reduce risks. Start by:

By putting a health & safety policy in place, you’re able to set out your organisation’s approach to health & safety. The document will outline the procedures for reporting and recording incidents and near misses. It’ll also highlight who, what, when and how to report these injuries. That’s in the event they occur.

As one of the most common causes of injury at work, it’s important to know how to prevent slips, trips and falls in the workplace.

Apart from a risk assessment, other practical steps you can take to control the risks of slips and other accidents include:

  • Using entrance matting to prevent slips from spilt liquids.
  • Fixing leaks from machinery or buildings.
  • Replacing light bulbs, change blinds when needed to increase visibility.
  • Providing bins and other waste options to prevent contamination and clutter on floors.
  • Displaying signs to highlight hazards when spills occur around pedestrian areas.
  • Involve employees in decision making relating to their safety.
  • Providing bins and other waste options to prevent contamination and clutter on floors.


Expert support

Expert advice contact us today for advice and guidance on creating a health & safety policy. Talk to one of our Health & Safety experts on 0808 145 3380.

About the Author

Peter Clark joined Croner in 2018 as a Senior Health and Safety Consultant advising clients all on matters of health and safety compliance. Peter has over 15 years’ experience as a health and safety practitioner in many varied industry sectors including Manufacturing; Printing; Construction; Agriculture; Retail; Education; and the Care Sector.

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