What to Do if You Suffer a Slip, Trip or Fall at Work
23 October 2018
If you suffer a slip, trip or fall accident at work, and this has happened as a result of someone else's actions or negligence, then you could be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries.
According to statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), slip, trip and fall accidents are the most common cause of non-fatal injuries in the workplace. In order to mitigate this risk, employers must take reasonable steps to remove hazards that could cause an employee to slip, trip or fall.
Where Do Slip, Trip and Fall Accidents Occur?
Slips, trips and falls can happen in any workplace environment, from a retail unit to an office to a construction site. For example, an employee working in a factory could slip over on leaking oil, a construction worker could trip on building materials that have been left out or an office worker could slip on a coffee spillage or trip on some loose computer wires.
Areas that commonly pose a high risk of slipping are often those with hard floors which could easily become wet. These could include canteens, for example, where there is a high risk of food and drink being spilled, or bathrooms where water could easily get on the floor. Tiled entrances and lobbies also pose a significant risk, particularly if it is raining or snowing outside and this is then being trampled indoors.
But it's not just inside spaces that you need to consider – in wet or icy conditions then carparks and walkways outside the building can also become treacherous.
Trip accidents most commonly occur in areas where there are unexpected obstacles on the ground. If packaging isn't cleared away from a warehouse floor, for example, then this could pose a significant risk. Trailing cables on an office floor or in a conference facility could catch someone out and a poorly maintained construction site could be filled with trip hazards such as stray power tools, building materials and hand tools as well as loose cabling and pipework.
Again, outside can also be a number of trip hazards in a number of forms. This could be some loose paving, an uneven surface or some rubbish that hasn't been cleared away
It is because slip, trip and fall hazards occur in every type of working environment that these types of accidents account for such a significant proportion of workplace accidents.
What the Workplace Regulations Say
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 exist to protect the health and safety of everybody who enters the workplace, whether that be workers, clients, contractors or suppliers. These Regulations apply to most workplaces, but there are specific regulations for construction sites called the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations.
Under the Workplace Regulations, employers have a duty to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their employees. The Regulations include specific guidance on the maintenance of walkways, floors and other traffic routes. This states that:
- The surface of floors and traffic routes must be suitable for its intended purpose
- They must not have a hole or slope, be uneven or slippery to a point that poses a risk
- Every floor should have effective means of drainage (where necessary)
- All floors and traffic routes should be kept free from obstructions or from substances that could cause someone to trip, slip or fall.
If You Are Injured in a Slip, Trip or Fall Accident at Work
If you suffer a slip, trip or fall while at work and you think that you may be entitled to claim compensation from your employer, then there are a number of steps that you can take to support any claim that you bring.
Seek medical attention – Of course, your primary concern should be to seek medical attention for the injuries that you have sustained. As well as setting you on the road to recovery as quickly as possible, your medical records will also be beneficial in verifying the extent of the injuries that you have sustained.
Record details of the accident - As soon as you are able to, ask the supervisor or manager on duty to record details of the accident in the accident book. This should include a summary of what happened, noting the date, time and location, and a description of the injury (or injuries) that you sustained.
Collect evidence – Note down the contact details of anyone who saw the accident happen or anyone who saw the hazard before the accident occurred, so that they can be contacted as a witness to support your claim. If you're able to, then also take photographs of the scene of the accident, including the hazard itself.
Contact a Personal Injury Solicitor – a specialist Personal Injury Solicitor will be able to discuss the details of your claim and advise on your chances of successfully claiming compensation for your injuries. Remember, there is a time limit for making a Personal Injury Claim, so it's important to act quickly. At Co-op Legal Services, we can provide free initial legal advice and discuss the nature of your claim in detail. We are able to deal with most personal injury claims on a no win no fee basis.