According to HSE research, the most common types of accident claims are slips, trips and falls
A massive 16-19% of all accident claims come from injuries related to them. Slips, trips and falls are also the single most common cause of injuries at work, accounting for over a third of all major work injuries, which is why we want to give you some information on how to avoid them.
Below is a list of our top 10 tips for avoiding slips, trips and falls, compiled with reference to HSE information on the most common causes of these types of accidents.
While the tips can be applied to the workplace, they can just as easily be applied to any other situation where you want to safeguard yourself and others against slips, trips and falls.
Wet floor due to spillages
Spillages should be cleaned up immediately and the resulting wet surface should be signposted to ensure people are aware of the danger. Alternatively, ask people to use an alternative route while the area dries. Supermarket claims often arise as a result of a wet or slippery surface which has not been signposted.
Changes in floor level
A small or unexpected step or slope is a classic tripping hazard. There are several things you can do to reduce the risk, including bright floor markings, hand rails, a ramp with tread markers or improved lighting.
Low lighting levels
Better lighting generally is likely to alert people to any potential hazard, and a more even lighting level across all floor areas will make it easier to notice any differences in flooring.
Types of footwear
Footwear with the correct type of sole and tread can greatly reduce the risk of falling. Slippery or ill-fitting shoes are the cause of many accidents
Wires and cables
Be careful to avoid placing wires and cables in walkways. Use cable guards to cover up cables where necessary and re-route cables if they cross a walking area.
Change of surface from wet to dry
When people cross from a wet area to a dry area, or vice versa, it can cause them to become unbalanced and slip. Where there is a change of surface ensure there is adequate signposting and that doormats or special footwear are used where appropriate.
At work, unexpected objects left in walkways such as heaters and handbags can be hazardous, while a common source of tripping in the home is children’s toys left on the floor. Make sure small objects are stored away from walkways.
Running or rushing can increase your risk of tripping because there is less time to notice any potential hazard and avoid it. Try and stick to walking when indoors and always watch where you’re going.
Mats and rugs
Rugs and mats can be a tripping hazard, particularly when curled up at the edges, unfixed to the surface beneath them, or if they have developed lumps and bumps. Try to eliminate rugs and mats where possible, otherwise ensure that they are securely fixed and that they are completely flat, including the edges.
Slippery floor surfaces
Even without a spillage, some floor surfaces can be slippery enough to create a slip hazard. If you think this could be the case with your floor, find out what is causing the floor to be slippery and treat it accordingly. It may be necessary to use a different type of flooring, though sometimes slippery floors can be treated chemically or in other ways.