How to avoid slips and trips in the workplace

According to the Health and Safety Executive, slips and trips cost British business around £512 million each year.

Such incidents account for 50 per cent of all reported accidents to members of the public that happen in workplaces.

Slips and trips increase during the upcoming winter season for a number of reasons – including adverse weather and reduced daylight hours – but employers can take effective action to reduce the risk.

Obligations outlined by the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act and reinforced by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 require employers to ensure staff are kept safe by minimising slip and trip risks within the workplace.

During the winter months, the need for employers to carry out the necessary checks and make sure  regulations are adhered to becomes ever more pressing.

One of the main causes of slips and trips within the workplace is adverse weather conditions, with rain and snow affecting the grip of footwear or producing wet patches on flooring.  

Reduced daylight hours also provide a problem when it comes to safeguarding against slips and trips, as it may be hard to identify obstacles or danger areas.

The HSE states that 50 per cent of all trip accidents are caused by bad housekeeping, so it is necessary for businesses to take every possibly measure to ensure that walkways are kept clear.

Handy tips on preventing slip and trip accidents in the workplace:

  • Shadow staff during the day to identify the main internal and external walkways. This will help when putting anti-slip measures as it will be easy to recognise where needs more light or gritting during icy conditions
  • Put large, absorbent mats outside all of the entrances to prevent employees stepping in rainwater just before they enter onto the dry surface. Even better would be to use outside canopies. Many slips occur here so preventative methods are extremely necessary.
  • Identify areas most affected by ice in advance to ensure mandatory action when the time comes.
  • Regularly check the weather forecast for snow and ice and make sure grit and warning signs around the building are used.
  • Make sure that fallen leaves and other wet outside objects are cleaned up frequently during the day.
  • Ensure your employees wear the correct footwear with plenty of grip.

For more information on slip and trip accidents and prevention methods, view the HSE’s guide by clicking here.