Business and charity

Slip and trip hazards – workplace safety

Taking measures to prevent slip and trip hazards is imperative to the day-to-day running of a business. This standard has been practiced since the Health and Safety at Work Act’s inception in 1974, requiring employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees in the workplace.

18 years later, the Workplace Regulations 1992 came into play, requiring floors to be kept in a suitable condition to enable employees to complete their work without risk of injury. Following this, the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 stated that employers must conduct risk assessments and put protocols in place to prevent and deal with dangers in the workplace.

Health and safety in the workplace is still just as important today. That’s why we’ve come up with a brief guide to workplace safety, including how to prevent and cope with slip and trip hazards.

Conduct risk assessments

Before your organisation can administer procedures for workplace safety, it’s important to conduct risk assessments.

Key elements to consider during this process:

  • All employers conducting the risk assessment must be fully aware of slip and trip hazards that can occur, and the definitions in relation to the working environment.
  • Specialist jobs that include different equipment, such as rooftop work, cranes, and forklift trucks.
  • Methods for controlling hazard prevention must be noted in a report, with completion dates added.
  • Reports must be revisited and changed, following a deviation in process, change in equipment or structure.

Once risk assessments are carried out, employers must give their employees relevant training in health and safety in the workplace. Training employees to recognise health and safety standards and practice them day-to-day will contribute massively to a safe, compliant working environment.

Health and safety training

Depending on the nature of each employee’s role, they should receive adequate health and safety training. Awareness-level health and safety training is a good starting point, as this will outline concepts of danger within the working environment, and how to overcome them in the safest and most compliant way.

Training specific to slip and trip hazards should include:

  • How each employee’s role is relevant, and how they could face a slip or trip hazard.
  • The slip or trip hazards that could be faced by anyone in the working environment.
  • The procedures that should be followed when handling materials and machinery.
  • Injury report standards and best practice.

Employees should also receive training on the correct use of cleaning equipment, and cleaning procedures going forwards. They should be made aware of how to clean different surface types, floor materials and proper cleaning methods for each.

Other training employees should receive:

  • How to check floors for cracks, holes and loose fittings.
  • How to replace light fixtures, how to clean and check for loose fittings.
  • Procedures for regularly carrying out maintenance inspections and record-keeping.
  • Walkway clearances and safety checks.

Filing an injury report

No matter how minor (or major) injuries are, they should all be reported in the correct way, straight away. Employers can assess the situation and take necessary measures to prevent this injury happening again in the future. Causes of injury could include bad lighting, objects obstructing vision, distractions, and bad housekeeping in general - all of which could result in someone falling.

Prevent injuries by conducting regular and thorough inspections. Make sure all employees are constantly on the lookout for hazards, and deal with them correctly. Improper use of machinery can also result in injury.

Types of falls

All it takes is one split second.

Some falls have bigger consequences than others, but it’s important to try and prevent any of them from happening if possible.

Wearing appropriate footwear can reduce the risk of slipping or tripping, with slip-resistant soles and ankle grips. Also, if an employee isn’t sure about using a certain piece of machinery due to possible wear and tear, they should report this immediately before someone uses it and gets hurt.

Workplace safety takeaways

Conduct risk assessments to analyse the safety of your workplace. Use your findings to take measures that prevent injury to you and your employees, and put robust procedures in place to deal with accidents.

Taking control of preventing slip and trip hazards is key. There are a number of things that can influence hazards, which is why it’s so important to regularly check your working environment and report any potential risks.

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