In 2013/14 the HSE calculated that over a third of injuries to employees were as a direct result of a slip, trip or fall within the workplace. Significant numbers of these injuries were classified as major and approximately 40 employees died as a result of their injuries.
It should also be noted that combining all accidents as a result of a slip, trip or fall led to an estimated 1.5 million working days lost and when set against the backdrop of over £1.3 Billion in costs to society, the Health Service and employers is a truly staggering state of affairs.
Are some industries or occupations more susceptible than others? Yes! The HSE provide a wealth of information and detail with regard to those occupations, industries and demographics that experience injury through slips, trips and falls to a greater extent than the average.
For example 66 % of all slips, trips and fall accidents occurred in the health and social care sector together with the transport sector. Since 1999 employers in England & Wales have been under a duty to conduct a risk assessment for slips, trips and falls if this is a risk to their workers. Once a risk has been identified the employer must adopt protective and preventative measures to ensure the safety of their workers.
There are a number of causes, some industry specific, however generally the factors common to all slips, trips and fall accidents in varying contributions at any given time include personnel, flooring, footwear, contamination, housekeeping and cleaning. Most slips, trips and falls occur because of obstructions in corridors or walkways with uneven floors being responsible for the rest.
Responsibility for health and safety rests with both employers and employees and educations and training is critical to ensure that everyone understands the causes to ensure that they also look out for the remedy too.
5 Step Guide to Avoid Slip, Trip, Fall Accidents at Work
Step 1: A positive proactive attitude to Health and Safety from the employer and employee ensures that a “see it and sort it” attitude prevails. This attitude is enhanced if all employees attend initial Health & Safety training which is constantly reinforced and education is seen as ongoing.
Step 2: The flooring of the workplace must be suitable, correctly fitted, maintained in good working order, cleaned regularly and kept free of spillages or contamination, non-slip coatings correctly applied and uneven levels should be avoided or highlighted. Employees should have the confidence to report any issues or defects knowing that the employer will take a proactive approach in resolving them.
Step 3: Good housekeeping is essential, 50% of all trips, slips and falls are caused by bad housekeeping in the workplace. The employer should ensure that all walkways/corridors are clear absent any obstructions, workstation floors are tidy with suitable storage capacity and that store rooms are properly maintained to reduce overflow into passageways. Housekeeping is an inexpensive way to reduce the risk of trips, slips and fall accidents in the workplace and should form part of a positive approach by all staff.
Step 4: Employers must have an awareness of employees with a disability whether their impairment is physical, sight or hearing which increases their risk of injury. This is becoming increasingly important as the working population is getting older. However, employers must ensure that protective clothing in good working order (where required) is provided, equipment is maintained and regularly serviced and ways of working are performed as safely as possible.
Step 5: All employees should ensure that they wear sensible footwear which is essential in avoiding slips, trips and fall accidents at work. For specialised working environments the employer should be providing the right footwear to enhance grip, reduce slippage and protect against falling objects and spillages of corrosive materials.
There are many workplace regulations but a collaborative approach by both employers and employees is likely to have the most influence on reducing the significant number of incidents and some of the most serious injuries to the workforce that has a huge financial impact to society, employee and employer.
If you were injured in a slip, trip or fall accident at work we can provide you with free legal advice, and assess your claim at no cost to you.
For free legal advice call our Personal Injury Solicitors on 0330 606 9587 or contact us online and we will help you.