HSE Targeting Slips & Trips

The HSE are targeting slips and trips which are a leading cause of accidents at work. Many of these accidents are preventable and the solutions are often inexpensive and straightforward to implement. Here are their top tips:

Obstacle Removal
Work areas should be kept tidy and walkways clear of obstruction. Trips are more likely to occur in corridors and along high traffic routes but items stored underneath desks and trailing cables also account for several trip related accidents.

Spillage Control
It is a fact that people rarely slip on clean, dry floors and this illustrates the importance of clearing up spillages promptly and effectively. Any smooth floor surface (e.g. vinyl, tiles, polished wood etc.) can become slippery even if only very slightly wet.

Effective cleaning can prevent accidents from occurring. Equally so, ineffective cleaning can cause accidents by introducing new and unnecessary slip hazards. People often slip on floors which have been left wet after cleaning!

  • Floors should not be left wet or damp after cleaning – if it is unavoidable then suitable barriers need to be in place with warning signage.
  • Where possible, cleaning should be carried out at the end of the working day to allow maximum time for floors to dry before staff return to work.
  • Extra precautions may be required when cleaning staircases – this is to protect both the cleaner and employees.
  • It is imperative that the correct cleaning method is used, e.g. spot cleaning, detergent, mopping, squeegee, vacuuming etc.

Risk Assessments
Managers must ensure that risk assessments are suitable, sufficient and consider all significant slip and trip hazards. Where possible, such hazards should be eliminated by design, e.g. by planning workplace layout, work processes and pedestrian routes. Particular attention should be paid towards ensuring that the type of flooring is suitable for the intended work tasks.

Adequate maintenance arrangements are also key in preventing slips and trips. For example, maintaining the building fabric and ensuring good lighting, especially in high traffic routes and on staircases.

Raising Employee Awareness
It is important that employees understand why good standards of housekeeping are required and how a tidy environment helps to reduce the risk of accidents.

Monitoring Housekeeping Standards
To assist in keeping work areas and walkways tidy, managers should ensure that adequate monitoring systems are implemented. The type of monitoring system required will depend on the level of risk. A simple but effective monitoring technique is to carry out routine workplace inspections on a scheduled basis (e.g. weekly or monthly).