Almost every employer and employee has heard the phrase ‘Slips, trips and falls’. But what does it mean for your business?
Things to Consider
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of all employees within the working environment. This includes taking steps to protect against slips trips and falls by undertaking risk assessments and identifying potential trip, slip or fall hazards. Then, putting in place measures/precautions to reduce the risk of any such incidents/accidents occurring. Such hazards should be reviewed on a regular basis.
Many of the hazards causing slips and falls within the workplace can be caused by issues such as wet, sticky or slippery floors, people traffic, inappropriate shoes that are not slip-resistant, debris such as food on the floor and uneven and/or damaged flooring.
What Happens Next?
The ramifications of not putting in place measures/precautions to reduce the risk of slips trips and falls occurring can be fines, possible prosecution and bad publicity for the employer.
Employers should communicate any company slips trips and falls policies, procedures and risk assessments to their employees via training, signage, toolbox talks. Any such awareness training or toolbox talks should be documented so that an employer has evidence that this took place. Employers should also train their employees to identify slip, trip and fall hazards and to either remove them, report them immediately or reduce the likelihood of it causing an incident.
Keep Things Clean and Tidy
When you are cleaning company premises, ensure that those instructed to undertake the task use clean water and appropriate cleaning products to clean up water spillage, grease, food and any other spills. It is imperative that this is cleaned up in a timely manner. It is unhygienic to see buckets of dirty water with mops sitting in them. If you clean the floors with greasy water then the floor will not be clean and will make it slippery when it dries.
It may be prudent to undertake research into floor cleaning products and floor coatings as there are certain products available on the market that contain additives that both clean and provide additional floor traction.
Employers should always aim to keep their workplace floors clean and importantly dry as much as possible.
Additionally, employers should also try to encourage employees to clean up any spills or tripping hazards as soon as they are seen to reduce the risk of any accidents and incidents.
Employers should always try to remind their employees to be aware of any slips trips and falls hazards.
What Are the Causes?
Common causes of trips slips and falls in the workplace include:
Slippery floor surfaces –
Surface conditions (e.g. carpets, tiles)
Surface level changes (e.g. stairwells)
What Are My Responsibilities?
What you should do as an employer:
Draft a slips, trips and falls risk control policy. This should detail the procedure to follow and how trips slips and falls incidents are dealt with, reported and removed.
Maintain good housekeeping practices and communicate this to relevant persons
Conduct periodic inspections to help identify and correct slip, trip and fall hazards in working and walking areas. Keep records of these.
Educate all relevant employees on slips, trips and falls hazards
Undertake a risk assessment, implement any recommendations and communicate to staff.
If you need any assistance with your risk assessments, or have any concerns, you can contact us on our easy to use form, or simply give us a call on: 0330 400 5490
As a Managing Director at Wurkplace since May 2010, Karen has extensive HR, employment law and health and Safety experience from working within the private sector.
She also boasts experience of working in the public sector including local authority, fire service, police, schools, colleges, charities, NHS.