Slips and trips are the most common type of non-fatal workplace accident in the UK. Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive show that in 2016/17, 29% of all non-fatal workplace accidents were caused by a slip or trip.
If you have been injured in a slip or trip at work through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to receive personal injury compensation.
Slips and Trips at Work
It's no surprise that slips and trips account for the largest proportion of non-fatal accidents at work, considering that these accidents can occur in any kind of workplace. Some of the most common types of work accident claims for slip and trip injuries include:
- Slipping on a wet floor
- Slipping on icy walkways
- Tripping over debris in the workplace
- Tripping over loose carpet or uneven flooring
- Tripping over cables or unexpected obstacles.
Slip and Trip Injuries
Because there are so many ways in which a slip or trip accident at work can happen, it follows that these types of injuries can vary greatly. Typically, slips and trips lead to broken wrists, arms and legs, as well as head injuries and back injuries.
Who is at Fault for a Slip or Trip Accident at Work?
Sometimes no one else is at fault for these incidents and they are indeed just 'accidents'. Other times, however, a slip or trip will occur as a direct result of another person's (or organisation's) negligence.
The issue of who is at fault for a slip or trip accident at work really comes down to whether or not 'reasonable steps' were put in place to protect the health and safety of employees.
The HSE provides guidance to employers on preventing slips and trips at work and the Workplace Regulations set out the employer's responsibilities. Regarding floors, the Regulations state that:
- "So far as is reasonably practicable, every floor in a workplace and the surface of every traffic route in a workplace shall be kept free from obstructions and from any article or substance which may cause a person to slip, trip or fall."
- "The floor [...] shall have no hole or slope, or be uneven or slippery so as, in each case, to expose any person to a risk to his health or safety."
The Regulations go on to note that if adequate measures have been taken to prevent someone falling in the hole, or if a handrail (for example) has been fitted to assist people on a slope, then this will be taken into account.
It is the employer's responsibility to take reasonable measures, and what is considered to be reasonable will vary according to the circumstances. This is could to mean that:
- Spillages are quickly cleaned and signposted
- Icy walkways are cleared and salted
- Loose carpet and uneven floors are quickly addressed and signposted
- Loose cables are covered and debris (such as tools and boxes) are cleared away.
Of course, an employer cannot be on hand all the time to police the premises. But what they must do is enforce the necessary policies, procedures and training to make the working environment a safe place. A failure to do so will amount to a breach of duty of care.
If an employee is injured as a result of these shortcomings, he/she will be entitled to pursue a claim against their employer. This will be true even if the accident was caused by another colleague's negligence – for instance, someone spilled oil on the floor and you weren't made aware of it, causing you to slip and fall.
In England and Wales, people who have been injured at work through no fault of their own are entitled to claim compensation in most cases. If someone dies in a workplace accident, or sustains a catastrophic brain injury, their family can make a claim on their loved one's behalf.
A successful work accident claim can allow you to receive compensation for:
- The pain and suffering that has been caused
- Past financial losses
- Future financial losses.
If you wish to claim compensation for a slip, trip or fall accident at work, you should speak to a Personal Injury Solicitor. Do not be put off by the fact that you still work for the same employer – you are legally protected against being treated any differently at work. Furthermore, your employer is legally required to have liability insurance, and in many cases this policy will cover their legal costs.
At Co-op Legal Services most workplace accident claims can be dealt with on a No Win No Fee basis.
For free legal advice call our Personal Injury Solicitors on 0330 606 9587 or contact us online and we will call you.