The Steps That You Can Take To Avoid Slips and Trips in the Workplace
Posted: Jan 05, 2019
According to the Health and Safety Executive, the most common cause of all injuries at work are slips and trips. They account for 40% of all major injuries that are reported, and they can lead to other serious types of accident such as falls from height. Slips and trips are also the most common cause of injuries to members of the public.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSW Act) requires employers to ensure the health and safety of all employees and anyone who may be affected by their work, so far as is reasonably practicable. This includes taking steps to control slip and trip risks. Employees also have a duty not to put themselves or anyone else in danger and must use any safety equipment that is provided by the employer.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 requires that floors should be suitable and in good condition. They must also be free from obstructions. Employers have a duty to assess risks - including slip and fall risks – and where necessary take action to address them under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
If you are an employer, you are probably already taking steps to ensure the safety of your employees and anyone else on your premises – for example customers, delivery drivers, sub-contractors, and so on – but you may need to do more. You have to decide whether you are doing enough to prevent harm and accidents occurring, and in order to achieve this the law requires you to undertake a risk assessment. The HSE says that this is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork – although if you have more than five employees you are required to keep a written record of your assessment – but rather about taking sensible measures in order to control risks, such as using doormats to prevent rainwater being tramped in and making the floor slippery.
You need to think about what sort of problems could occur that could result in injury, how accidents might happen, and who might be harmed by them. You can also ask your employees what they think may be hazards, because they may spot things that are not so obvious to you because they may be working in a particular area all day, such as operating a machine, and they may also have some good ideas on prevention of injury.
There are actually plenty of ways to control the risks of slips and trips, such as ensuring that any spills are cleaned up quickly and not left. You should fix leaks from machines - even the coffee machine. Plan tasks so that spillages can be avoided and use pedestrian and vehicle routes that avoid contaminated areas.
Take a look at the flooring material. If there is loose, damaged, or worn flooring, get it replaced. Floors likely to get wet or suffer spillages should be of a type that does not get over-slippery. You can also consider anti-slip solutions, such as an anti-slip coating. There are anti-slip products available that can considerably reduce the slipperiness of a floor, and there are also specialist companies that can test your floor for slipperiness with a special piece of testing equipment. You should also ensure that there is sufficient lighting, and have handrails on stairs and slopes.
You also need to ensure that your cleaning method is suitable for the type of floor that you have. When using a detergent make sure it is mixed at the right concentration. Have effective arrangements for both routine cleaning and mopping up spills. Don't introduce more slip and trip risks while the cleaning is being done, and make sure that the floor is dry after cleaning or keep pedestrians away until it is.
If floors cannot be kept clean and dry, for instance in a manufacturing unit, you can supply slip-resistant footwear to employees. If footwear is supplied as PPE it must be supplied to employees free of charge.
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