Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

How to avoid slips and trips in the workplace
Posted by David Cant on March 28, 2014

Health and Safety Risk managementSlips and trips are one of the most common accidents to occur in the workplace. The result is millions of working days missed on an annual basis and the corresponding litigation that may well follow. However by following a few simple tips the inherent risk associated with this type of accident and the resulting fallout can be avoided.

Causes and prevention

By far the most common cause of trips is obstructions located in walkways. This type of accident is eminently avoidable by some housekeeping rules. The key to ensure the health and safety of the workforce is to ascertain the validity of the walkway, the uses of it as well as the means of access. In addition, are any specific tasks conducted within the confines of the walkway itself.

In terms of obstructions, determine what types of obstructions are located within the access space and why. Many times, the obstruction can be removed and located in a safer location, ensuring that the walkway itself is free from obstruction and therefore safe to transverse.

When it comes to the subject of slips, the majority of slips are caused by three potential elements, fluid on the floor, uneven surfaces or obstructions protruding and not evident to the eye. Obviously in terms of prevention, common sense should prevail and any leaks of fluid should be cleaned up as soon as possible and a relevant sign displayed endeavouring to inform anyone passing by of the potential risk.

As far as uneven surfaces are concerned, if remedial work can be carried out to correct the problem, then this should be carried out as soon as possible. If for whatever reason the surface cannot be rectified, the appropriate signs should be displayed to warn individuals of the issue.

Another factor that should be addressed, if required, is the element of lighting. Poor lighting can have a significant effect on the level of risk associated with certain areas within which people walk. Dimly lit areas of the workplace can be dangerous and as such pose a greater risk, which ultimately can be rectified quickly.

As any employer will be aware, there is a duty of care when it comes to the health and safety of their employees. In terms of legislation the following laws are relevant:

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (Regulation 3)
  • The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (Regulation 12)

A useful Health and Safety Executive leaflet is available on this subject for those requiring further information:


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

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