Solutions to trip and slip hazards need not be costly

STAFF TRAINING Businessman working at office desk
spilt liquid on the floor
Around 40% of workplace accidents involve slips, trips or falls, with many resulting in broken bones.

Where falls from height are concerned, injuries can be serious or even fatal. Safety in the workplace is everyone's responsibility: the employer's to provide a safe working environment, and the employee's to take due care. Solutions to trip and slip hazards need not be costly, so here are a few measures you can take to keep your workforce safe and well.
Ensure that your risk assessments are up to date and that employees are fully aware of any safety precautions they need to take, for example, cleaning up promptly and using signage after a spill, or removing obstacles from floors.

Involve your employees in the risk assessment process,as they are often quick to see hazards in their area of work and can also provide practical solutions. Review this regularly, as most workplaces change with reasonably regularity, and involve employees in changes to their safety routines.

Ensure that all machinery is regularly serviced and checked, to minimise leaks. Use entrance mats, and design work tasks in such a way that spills are minimised. Create walkways or vehicle routes to avoid those areas which are most likely to become contaminated. Have protocols in place and signage available for routine cleaning as well as accidental spills, and always use detergent mixes at the manufacturer's recommended strength.

Loose tiles, broken flooring and loose cables are the most common trip hazards, so check floors as part of your routine assessments. For floors where spillage is likely, reduce the risk by laying anti-slip flooring or providing anti-slip footwear. Make sure that lighting is good throughout your building, with steps and slopes clear to see. Trips can sometimes occur when people are crowding or hurrying, so organise work to avoid this risk wherever possible.

Falls from ladders account for a significant number of workplace accidents, so train all staff to use stepladders and ladders where necessary. Provide step stools for staff who need to reach overhead - standing on a chair is never an acceptable risk!

Human factors are also important in accidents, so encourage employees to take responsibility for staying safe. They should clean up spills promptly even if they didn't cause it. Safety clothing, including footwear, should always be worn if needed and tidiness is everybody's responsibility. Employees should also report accidents and problems which need resolving, such as leaking machinery.

Everyone has a part to play in staying safe, so following these simple measures can reduce the number of slips, trips and falls that happen in the workplace every year.