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October 13, 2020

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Don’t slip up on safety

Your health and safety priorities may have changed, but the risk of slips is still here, and with cleaning being high on the agenda, it could be un-intentionally increasing the risk of slips on your site.

wet floor

The current COVID-19 pandemic has created an extremely challenging operational environment for many businesses. Never has it been more important to ensure workspaces are safe for all employees. To ensure adherence to guidelines set for safe working environments, many businesses are ensuring employees have the correct PPE and areas are properly cleaned and disinfected. This is on top of the pre-existing health and safety concerns already flagged and managed on site such as slips, which have been identified by the HSE as the single biggest type of accident representing almost one third of all accidents amongst employees.

Many health and safety managers primary objective is to ensure a safe return to work for employees. Despite this, many businesses are at risk overlooking the pre-existing risks on their site of which slips is one of them.

‘Your health and safety priorities may have changed, but the risk of slips is still there. And with cleaning being high on the agenda, it could be un-intentionally increasing the risk of slips on your site.’ This warning to businesses comes from safety experts Arco, and slip management experts Bonasystems.

Research by Bonasystems revealed that three quarters of floor surfaces tested failed to achieve a safe standard of slip resistance. In some cases, a floor’s slip resistance was so poor, it would have an accident probability as high as one in two[1]. Testing floors with the Pendulum test (HSE’s approved method of measuring slip resistance in the UK), reveals many employees as well as members of the public are being put at unnecessary risk of injury.

Each year, slips, trips and falls are the single biggest type of accident in the workplace, injuring over 180,000 employees and costing employers over £500 million. What many businesses are unaware of is that there are many factors which could impact an employee’s, and the general public’s, risk of a slip.

Additional factors that can contribute to slip risk include:

  • The floor maintenance and cleaning regime;
  • Contaminants that may be on the floor surface or footwear;
  • Footwear worn by members of the public;
  • The range of floor types;
  • Floors degrading over time.

Dont Slip Up on Safety

Steven Philips, Managing Director of Bonasystems said: “While most health and safety managers acknowledge they have a slip risk, many are un-intentionally increasing their risk as their efforts are re-prioritised elsewhere. Their misunderstanding in terms of best practice means that many are not always taking the correct measures needed to keep their business safe from prosecution and keep employees as well as members of the public safe from avoidable slip hazards. Consequently, health and safety professionals must do more to address slip risk holistically. Specifically, they need to ensure their floor surface is maintained that would dramatically reduce the slip risk probability and where applicable, procure footwear for employees which are fit for purpose in the working environment.”

Neil Hewitt, Director of QSHE UK and Asia, at Arco, said: “I urge employers to carry out a slip risk assessment, review the suitability of their employee’s footwear and ensure their floor cleaning regime is correct. This can not only help protect employees and in some sectors, members of the public from injury, but also protect their business from potentially lengthy court cases, fines, personal injury claims and higher insurance premiums.”

Click here for more information about Arco’s anti-slip campaign, and how you can address your business’s slip risk.

[1] 1,300 Independent slip risk assessment studies conducted by Bonasystems in 301 locations across the UK. Accident probability is given based on the correlation to the Pendulum Test Values (PTV) as guided by the HSE

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