Author Bio ▼

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
July 7, 2015

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Slips Trips and Falls

Slips, trips and falls advice

Slips, trips and falls are the leading cause of major injuries in the workplace. Lionel Bailey examines how firms can protect their workers through training and proper communication.

_211010Processed_083

The prevention of workplace accidents should always be a priority for employers. However, ensuring that an effective health and safety strategy is implemented and understood by the whole workforce is often a challenge. With many firms employing a strong contingency of temporary staff, coupled with the complexities that accompany managing teams across multiple sites, training and communication are vital in reducing the potential of any slips, trips and falls in the workplace.

Firms should aim to put together a complete health and safety training programme by gathering input from facilities managers, health and safety managers and floor staff to identify potential risks. Employee health and safety training should form part of the induction process so that employees are fully briefed from the outset. New staff may be unfamiliar with key procedures such as how to use certain pieces of equipment, and a general unfamiliarity of the workplace means employees are at a greater risk of slips, trips and falls.

For companies with a high staff turnover or those that use a contingency of temporary workers, this can be especially challenging. Often in this case, forming a close relationship with an employment agency is vital. Having a health and safety manager provide recruiters with a training programme and information regarding pertinent slip, trip and fall hazards in the working environment can reduce the risk of accidents. In addition, implementing a written test or questionnaire after the course of training will ensure that agency staff who fully understand health and safety procedures are invited to work on site.

In every workplace, there should be a clear chain of communication through which employees can report any emerging hazards or concerns. Each team should have a safety representative who is responsible for relaying such concerns to the site health and safety manager. However, if employees do not feel that their input has been sufficiently addressed, an open door policy can be useful for any workers who wish to escalate their concerns to higher management.

Similarly, one of the most important tools for risk reduction is ‘near-miss reporting’. Here, employees are encouraged to contact safety representatives in instances where physical obstructions, wet floors or similar hazards had the potential to cause a minor accident. This allows facilities managers to implement changes to ensure that a more serious slip or fall does not take place. Communicating steps that the organisation has taken in reaction to near-miss reports is also important – sharing this information on a health and safety notice board or company newsletter will encourage employees to report other incidents.

Training aside, consistent and continuous monitoring of the working environment is necessary in order to maintain best practice and remove hazards before they cause accidents. A large proportion of slips, trips and falls are caused by extension leads, electrical cabling, pieces of pallet or discarded packaging. Implementing a clean as you go mentality among staff and ensuring it is properly enforced via regular spot checks can help to reduce potential risks.

For health and safety managers overseeing a number of sites, there must be a degree of delegation to individual facilities managers to carry out these checks. However, impromptu audits can help in ascertaining quality control. Also, inviting health and safety representatives to visit various sites can encourage the sharing of expertise and best practice, which could aid in driving improvements.

In order to reduce the incidence of slips, trips and falls, health and safety managers must ensure that staff receive the correct training, are able to communicate any concerns and adequately report near-miss incidents to a safety representative. Spotting the emergence of hazards before they occur and implementing a culture of continuous assessment can significantly reduce the risk of staff injuries.

Lionel Bailey is a health and safety specialist at Office Depot

Slips trips and falls articles

Roofing supplies firm and director fined after workers fall from height

A roofing supplies firm and its director have been fined after two workers fell from a tower scaffold, sustaining serious injuries.

Company fined after putting workers at risk of a fall from height

A roofing contractor has been fined after a health and safety inspector came across two workers jet washing a steeply pitched roof on a house without adequate protection.

Engineering company sentenced after apprentice narrowly escapes serious injury

A plant hire company has been fined after an apprentice avoided a potentially fatal crush injury from a mobile crane.

Wholesalers fined £120,000 for failings that led to fall

A company has admitted a health and safety offence after an employee fell through a fragile plasterboard ceiling, sustaining life-changing injuries.

Cheshire Council fined after child falls from height

Cheshire West and Chester Council has been fined after a young child fell almost three metres to the floor from a gap in railings, sustaining serious head injuries.

Hudson Yards Scaffolding malfunction: Two window cleaners survive 20-foot fall

Two men are in hospital in New York after falling around 20 feet off scaffolding on Manhattan’s 101 storey Hudson Yards development in New York on Saturday.

£40,000 fine after care home death fall

A 94-year-old man fell nearly 30 feet from a second floor window of the Wellburn Care Home.

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.

Monitor and control: Common construction site hazards and risks

SOCOTEC outlines some of the most common hazards and risks that construction workers may encounter, as well as the relevant legislation and control measures that ensure that the level of risk is kept as low as possible.

Hard Hat Awareness Week: ‘Check your hard hat’, urges brain injury charity

Hard Hat Awareness Week runs from 21-27 September and will see a series of activities designed to drive awareness of brain injury and encourage best practice around safety equipment.

Worker sustained significant head injuries in a fall from height

Building firm fined after self-employed subcontractor sustained multiple fractures and a brain injury following 15-foot fall.

Farmer fined after fall from height

A farmer has been for fined breaches of health and safety legislation after a roofing contractor fell whilst installing roof sheets an under construction agricultural building.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Statutory inspections during COVID-19 – Director’s Briefing

Get your hands on this free Barbour download to learn all about statutory inspections in the age of COVID-19, and how the failure to undertake an inspection may result in big problems even when inspectors are hard to get hold of.

Barbour Social

Related Topics

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
david bailey
david bailey
1 year ago

i have worked for the same firm for 7yrs as a gardenerin the last 5 yrs large trees have not been maintaine and large branches are faling down This is also a anursing home and has pathes all round that are a tripp[ng and slippery hazard i have reported this to my managers and employer over the last yearwhat can i do