How to Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace
Holland Safety Dublin, Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace
Here at Holland Safety, we like to take the time to provide advice and guidance to all of our clients. Our team of safety experts understand the importance of a safe workplace and we always make an effort to pass on our expertise to those who may need it. In this blog post we are going to address some of the most common slips, trips and falls that occur in the workplace and provide you with easy to follow steps on how to avoid these situations.
Let us first address slips, a common occurrence in locations that may be lacking in the correct floor coverings or a failing to follow appropriate housekeeping guidelines. According to the data on slips, trips and falls from the HSE (Health Service Executive) approximately 1,700 slips, trips and falls in the workplace are recorded on an annual basis in Ireland (reference: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work). Keep in mind that this accounts only for accidents that are reported to the HSA, so the likelihood is that numbers are significantly higher than this.
By paying particular attention to the following areas, you can eliminate to occurrence of slips in the workplace and ensure the safety of your staff on a daily basis.
Wet surfaces are one of the most common culprits with regards to slips in the workplace. This should be an easy fix for any businesses that are safety conscious. Here are a number of precautionary steps you can take:
- Immediately clean up any spillages that occur.
- When cleaning is in progress, ensure that the appropriate signage is erected and clearly visible to all who use the area.
- Provide adequate non-slip rugs at entrances to your premises. This will ensure those who are entering the building are less likely to track wet footprints throughout the premises.
- Address any leaks in the building or faulty plumbing to adequately protect those who may be using the area.
- Employ good housekeeping at all times and set a schedule/rota for regular checks of the floors in your business.
Uneven Floor Coverings and Finishes
Uneven floor coverings can result in slips that could have easily been avoided. To ensure these slips do not occur, undertake a regular inspection of the floor coverings and remedy any of the following:
Mats, rugs or carpets that may not be adhering sufficiently to the surface, check the edges in particular and any floor coverings that may be overlaying cabling.
The external ground surfaces of your business should also be inspected on a regular basis. Pay particular attention to surfaces during the winter months when ice can be an issue.
Other Causes of Slips
- Slippery floor surfaces: Particularly highly polished or buffed surfaces at entrances and lobby areas.
- Inappropriate footwear can also be a cause for slips in the workplace. Ensure that all staff are equipped with appropriate footwear to suit surface conditions.
When addressing trip hazards in the workplace, it is vitally important that you carry out risk assessments of the following:
- Remove any obstacles that may cause an individual to trip. These include but are not limited to: packaging, tools, production equipment and waste.
- Ensure all areas are adequately lit at all times.
- Floor coverings can also be a major cause of trips, so it is important to look out for and remedy the following: Any floor coverings that are not properly adhering to the surface, loose woodwork, broken floor tiles, unsecured floor threshold bars, carpet strips or saddle boards.
- The external part of your business should also be inspected for trip hazards. This includes any entrance roads, parking lots or outdoor seating areas. Broken slabs, uneven concrete, broken outdoor tiles and potholes should all be addressed as a matter of urgency.
- Ensure all cabling and conduits are tucked away neatly and not left to cause an obstruction. Use cable tidies where appropriate and put in place a procedure with regard to cable housekeeping.
- Permanent obstructions that are part of the structure of your premises need to be easily identifiable and clearly marked. This may include steps, ramps, low entrance levels etc.
- Putting in place regular checks across your premises can lead to good housekeeping practices and greatly reduce the risk of trips and injuries.
When we think of falls, we generally assume that they happen from a height. Whilst this is a common occurrence, falls can happen at surface and walking level also. We will explore falls from a height in a later blog post. What employers need to be aware of is that many falls happen due to slip and trip hazards at walking surface level, this can be avoided for the most part by following the guidelines addressed previously. Let’s take a look at other hazards you can eliminate to avoid falls at surface and walking level in the workplace.
- Keep stairs and walkways clear of debris and obstruction at all times.
- Use salt or grit on walking surfaces to avoid slippery surfaces during the winter months.
- Where step ladders, kick stools or step stools are required for shelf stacking, accessing stock or other duties, these should be used only with a floor lock and proper safety training should be given prior to use.
- Where grates, drains out outflow channels are required for drainage, ensure these are clearly marked and professionally fitted and certified.
- Install handrails where required to avoid unnecessary falls.
- Hazard identification training should be provided to all individuals that use the area.
- Workplace safety training and regular risk assessments will ensure your organisation is working to promote safety in the workplace.
To learn more about workplace safety training, please contact a member of the Holland Safety team for expert advice and a free consultation. Offering safety training right across Ireland to businesses in all sectors and industries.
Holland Safety is an integrated safety solutions provider with over 20 years of experience as a specialist in safety training, consultancy, and contract placement. We support some of Ireland's largest organisations operating in manufacturing, construction, pharmaceutical, and government sectors.
We are committed to developing innovative solutions for our clients that are compliant, sustainable, efficient, and cost effective, enabling the achievement of their health and safety goals.