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How to avoid the most common cause of workplace injury

Health & Safety Executive (HSE) statistics confirm that in 2018 slips, trips or falls accounted for over 30% of non-fatal workplace injuries and over 20% of non-fatal workplace injuries that resulted in a more than seven day employee absence.

Written by Paul Brown on 29th May 2019

How to avoid the most common cause of workplace injury

So what can be done to prevent the most common causes of workplace injury that so very often result in both accident and liability insurance claims?


Risk Assessment

  • Consider what risks in your workplace may lead to slip or trip injuries, and decide what suitable and effective control measures will help prevent these types of accidents.  
  • Think about how and where accidents could happen and who might be harmed.
  • Use a hazard-spotting checklist and slips and trips mapping tool to identify problem areas.
  • Ask your employees what and where they think the hazards are. They may have noticed things that are not obvious to you and may have good ideas on how to control the risks.
  • For many risks remedial actions will be quite simple, for example ensuring spillages are cleaned up promptly so people do not slip.
  • Make a record of your findings and the measures that you have in place to prevent them. If you have fewer than five employees you are not required to  write anything down, but it is good practice to keep a formal record.



You then need to put your control measures into practice and undertake frequent reviews to help ensure that your control measures keep pace with changes in your business.

Preventing Slips, Trips or Falls

The HSE offers some practical steps to prevent slips and trips accidents in the workplace. Here are a few examples.


Consider the flooring and work environment

  • Check for loose, damaged and worn flooring and replace as needed.
  •  Floors likely to get wet or have spillages on them should be of a type that does not become unduly slippery.
  •   Make sure lighting is sufficient and that slopes, or steps are clearly visible.
  •  Use handrails where appropriate and ensure that they remain in good condition.
  • Keep walkways and work areas clear of obstructions. 


 Stop floors becoming contaminated

  • Use entrance matting.
  • Fix leaks from machinery, or buildings.
  • Make sure plant and equipment are 
  • Design tasks to minimise spillages.
  • Plan pedestrian and vehicle routes to avoid contaminated areas.


Use the right cleaning methods

  • Make sure that your cleaning method is effective for the type of floor you have.
  • Don’t introduce more slip or trip risks while cleaning is being done.
  • Leave smooth floors dry after cleaning or exclude pedestrians until the floor is dry.
  • Remove spillages promptly.
  • Have effective arrangements for both routine cleaning and dealing with spills.
  • Use mobile signage to warn of slippery surfaces.
  • Use the appropriate detergent mixed at the correct concentration.


Ensure the wearing of appropriate footwear

  • Where floors cannot be kept clean and dry, slip-resistant footwear can help prevent slip accidents.
  • Trial footwear first to make sure it is suitable for the environment and for those who will be wearing it, ie comfort and fit.
  •  If footwear is supplied as personal protective equipment (PPE), it must be supplied free of charge to employees.


Think about people and organisational factors

  • Consider how work is organised and managed, e.g. to avoid rushing, overcrowding, or trailing 
  • Make sure employees are involved in the decisions that affect them, e.g. choice of PPE footwear or a change in cleaning methods.


Engage your employees in preventing slips and trips 

  •  Impress upon your employees the role that they can play in the risk management of slips and 
  • Explain how they can play their part in keeping the workplace tidy.
  • If they see items on the floor that present a trip hazard ask them to remove them or arrange for them to be removed, or for the situation to be made safe. Encourage the prompt reporting of accidents, or near misses, so that this information can be used to help prevent future accidents.
  • Ensure that if employees see a spillage they clean it up, or make arrangements for it to be cleaned.
  • Request the reporting of any damaged floors or mats.
  • If PPE is issued record it, insist employees wear it and look after it. Make sure that they report any faults, or damage, to PPE and make arrangements for replacement.
  • Require employees to tell you about any work process or situation that they think is dangerous.


If you would like to discuss this matter further then please get in touch with your usual Franklands’ contact on 01332 545720.



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