When it comes to managing safety in the workplace we do go on about the importance of taking action to prevent accidents involving slips and trips. It’s not because of any addiction; it is simply because these are the most common cause of serious injury in the workplace. Their prevention offers employers the greatest opportunity to avoid the costs and disruption to business that goes with them.
Government figures show that slips and trips are the most common cause of major injuries at work and can happen almost anywhere. 95% of major slips result in broken bones and a slip can also be the initial cause for other types of accidents such as a fall from a height. On average, slips and trips are responsible for more than 1/3 of all reported major injuries and 20% of other reportable injuries to employees. More significantly, if you are in a service industry or a business that deals directly with the public, 50% of all reported accidents to members of the public that happen in a workplace are the result of a slip or trip.
Preventing these accidents would save employers the associated costs of the injuries and lost production or business opportunity estimated by insurance companies and others at £512,000,000 every year. Their prevention would also save the National Health Service treatment costs of over £130,000,000 per year.
Most slips occur in wet or contaminated conditions and most trips are due to poor housekeeping. The solutions are usually simple and cost effective; a common sense consideration of the risks should identify the necessary controls. These are likely to include;
- • the prevention of contamination
- • the management of spillages and timely cleaning regimes
- • effective matting systems, where floors are known to be or become slippery
- • suitable footwear – some shoe soles lose their grip on wet or incompatible floor surfaces
- • the design of the workplace and work activities
- • maintenance of plant and the work environment to avoid leaks and wet floors
- • replacing damaged carpets and flooring
- • the specification of slip-resistant flooring, when replacement or refurbishment is planned
- • good and effective housekeeping
- • the avoidance of trailing cables and hoses
- • effective training
- • effective supervision.
Although the solutions may be simple they are often overlooked. The biggest obstacles to putting the problems right include:
- • people not taking the risks seriously
- • little understanding of the causes of slipping
- • thinking that slips and trips are inevitable
- • poor application of risk assessment and management controls
Contact Adrian Berkeley for a free assessment of your Employment Health & Safety situation.
firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0161-371 0011