Slips, trips and falls

Public news

Yes, slips and trips can be prevented in workplaces. Awareness of the common risk factors for slips and trips, coupled with a strong management commitment, can result in reduction and prevention of slips and trips incidents.

Like any other hazard in the workplace, prevention begins with a risk management approach – i.e. spot the hazard, assess the risk, and make the changes. This should be done in full consultation with your staff at each stage.

Hazards can be identified by reviewing hazard reports and incident reports, talking with your staff and completing walk-throughs or workplace inspections to identify potential hazards.

Assessing the risk involves identifying all of the risk factors that are present that may contribute to the risk of a slip or trip, and determining the potential likelihood and consequences of a slip or trip occurring.

Finally, making changes is about implementing controls that eliminate or reduce the identified risk factors. Don’t forget that all-important step of reviewing the solutions after they have been put in place to make sure that they are effective, and have not introduced any new hazards to the workplace.

Slips, trips, and falls are a significant problem affecting every workplace, from factory floor to office. They can result in serious injuries and lengthy periods of time off work. Slips and trips account for about 20 per cent of all lost time injuries every year.

A slip occurs when there is insufficient friction between floor surface and footwear. Slippery floor surfaces, contaminated floors, and inappropriate footwear are risk factors that can lead to slips in the workplace.

A trip occurs when there is excessive friction between a surface and footwear and/or the person’s foot is caught by an obstruction while moving. Trips can also occur when unexpected surface variations are encountered.

A fall may occur as a result of many incidents. A fall can occur when an individual is not able to correct their upright posture after they have tripped, slipped or loss their balance some other way. A fall can also occur because the surface that a person is standing on or stepping onto collapses or moves. Falls may occur from a height or on the same level.