How many people can honestly say they have never slipped, tripped or fallen at least once in their lives? It can happen to anyone at home, school, work – or even on a night out. In certain circumstances, a comedy fall can provide bystanders with a moment’s entertainment. However, the truth is that when this type of accident occurs at work, it can be extremely dangerous…
It only takes a moment where someone is not paying attention for them to slip on a wet floor, fall down some stairs or stumble over cluttering objects. The injuries caused by slips and falls in the workplace range from bruises and minor sprains right through to broken bones and ligament damage.
Slips and falls are the most common type of injury at work, making up 29% of all non-fatal injuries. If you fail to maintain a safe working environment can lead not only to lost working days and reduced productivity but also to possible financial penalties for employers. While it would probably be impossible to eliminate trips and falls completely, there are a number of measures employers can take to minimise these risks. With this in mind, here are 5 steps businesses can take to reduce the risks for employees:
Create a Risk Assessment Plan
The first thing you should be aware of is that good housekeeping and regular maintenance are both essential when it comes to providing a safe workplace. Cleaning an area gives you the perfect opportunity to conduct a risk assessment, and both should be routinely undertaken not just done after an accident or before an inspection.
The easiest way to keep your workspace clean, organised and risk-free is to have a plan and stick to it. Ensure you assign specific responsibilities to teams or individuals, also communicate to employees that they are responsible for ensuring their own workspace remains tidy. When duties have been assigned and a rota organised, ensure the safety plan is displayed prominently and is easily accessible to all staff.
Being proactive is one way of helping ensure that your workplace remains a safe and secure environment.
Keep Floors Clean and Dry
In any working environment, floors will get wet, things like mopping and spills are just two examples of what can cause a floor to become slippy. To help prevent slips and falls, warning signs should always be placed near areas that have just been mopped or have suffered a spillage.
Another thing that can be useful, especially in industrial workplaces, is the correct floor covering. By painting the floor with paint, you can help ensure that slips and falls are much less commonplace. You can supplement this by putting down moisture-absorbent mats and anti-slip adhesive tape for additional traction. Encourage safe behaviour by painting boundaries with a water-based lining paint.
Remove Obstacles from Floors Wherever Possible
Anything on the floor is a potential trip hazard. Tools, work materials and general clutter all become obstacles when found on stairways, in doorways or on the floor. You should make it part of company policy for employees to continuously monitor workspaces to ensure floors are kept free from clutter. Some of the things you and your team should do as a matter of course include:
- Not leaving cables, wires or extension leads laying unsecured on floors.
- Avoid leaving briefcases, files, boxes or other items in walkways.
- Ensure all drawers and doors are closed when not in use.
Ensure Your Workplace is Adequately Lit
The risk of trips and falls increases significantly in areas with poor lighting. This is particularly true in areas such as stairs, corridors, basements and loading bays. In the case of construction sites, it is imperative all areas are kept well lit at all times.
Make your employees aware that it is their responsibility to switch on the lights when entering a darkened space. This means it is important to place all light switches near to doors and bulbs and make sure cords and light fixtures are repaired immediately when they become damaged.
Ensure All Staff are Wearing the Correct Footwear
Whatever your working environment, whether it is a building site, shop or office, it is imperative that staff are wearing the correct footwear. Even in areas where safety shoes are not required, it is important for staff to consider what they put on their feet. Staff should ensure that the soles of shoes are non-slip with plenty of traction. If heels have to be worn, ensure they avoid getting caught in loose or uneven surfaces.
While it is impossible to prevent every slip and fall in the workplace, by taking a diligent approach to health and safety, you can help make any workplace a safer place.
Thanks for Reading and Stay Safe!
We hope you found our article useful and are now confident about the steps you need to take to keep yourself and your colleagues safe at work. Many thanks for reading – keep safe!