During 2017/18 over half of non-fatal injuries to employees reported by employers were caused by just two different accident types. Slips, trips and falls were one of these, accounting for 31% of all injuries

According to the latest HSE statistics, many of these incidents resulted in comparatively minor injuries, However, a concern that must not be overlooked is the sheer number of such slips, trips and falls and the resulting absence from work.

Significant financial losses can be suffered when the total number of incidents are taken into account. With a total of  71,062 non-fatal injuries to workers reported by employers - 22,029 of these relate to slips, trips and falls - that’s 424 incidents each week, or 60 per working day (assuming a 7 day work week).

When looking at employee self-reported statistics(555,000 incidents per year!), 135,000 of the self-reported injuries resulted in absence from work for more than 7 days. 420,000 of the incidents resulted in up to 7 days absence from work.

It’s time to take action to reduce the absenteeism and financial losses that are caused by slips trips and falls in the workplace. Here we explain the best ways to prevent slips, trips and falls from occurring, using a multi-faceted approach.

 

Promoting a safety culture and changing attitudes

The first set of issues to tackle is changing attitudes towards slips, trips and falls.  

Both management and the workforce need to understand that safety is part of the business's culture and that slips, trips and falls are not considered to be ‘minor’ incidents. Progress will be made once this attitude change has been underpinned by a few key decisions or strategies.

Lead by example

Management needs to clearly demonstrate that slips, trips and falls are no longer acceptable. Employees need to see that management is putting procedures in place that must be adhered to and acted upon. From the processes implemented to report and assess incidents, to reporting of wearing appropriate safety footwear.

Responsible behaviour in the workplace

Colleagues must act responsibly with one another in the workplace to keep each other safe. Taking responsibility for one’s own actions and ensuring safe work practices and procedures are integrated into their working practices.

Improve education about safety footwear

Employees need to understand the important role Safety Footwear plays in preventing accidents. Realising to what extent slips, trips and falls can be prevented when wearing the most appropriate footwear for the job, and assessing when footwear has become worn and needs to be replaced. When implemented correctly, safety footwear has contributed to a reduction in injuries in the workplace by 75%.

Review incidents for continuous improvement

Improvements in accident prevention can continue to be made by encouraging all levels within your organisation to assess each incident with a critical, yet constructive eye. What procedures do you have in place to monitor and report incidents and how can they be improved? How quickly do you implement changes after an incident and what follow-up safety training do your employees receive? You’ll be able to learn from each incident and move closer to your goal of eliminating all incidents and injuries.

Get the workforce involved

Part of promoting the safety culture, mentioned above, is in getting the workforce involved in preventing slips, trips and falls. Hazard mapping is one area where they can play a significant part - identifying hazards, such as uneven floor surfaces, or spillage risks, and then finding appropriate solutions and prioritising the most serious dangers. Mutual trust and confidence between managers and workers is critical at this stage.

Hazard spotting and risk assessments

Once an incident has occurred, it makes sense to review why it happened and how it can be avoided in the future. A site survey to identify any hazards is the first priority. Focus will depend on each organisation’s individual set up but could concentrate on areas in the workplace where higher levels of friction are needed for pulling or pushing heavy loads, identifying damaged flooring, the appropriateness of staff footwear, or areas with poor ergonomic design. All of these factors will contribute to the goal of eliminating injury.

A good place to get started is by using the HSE’s Slips and Trips Hazard Spotting Checklist, and its Slips and Trips Mapping Tool.

Budgeting and planning in order of risk and priority

A budget needs to be set by management to address the changes needed to reduce the risk of incidents. Once set, management needs to work alongside employees to establish a plan of action with SMART goals. Although the list of ‘to do’ items can be overwhelming, it’s important to prioritise the highest risk areas and any significant hazards. Solutions can range from Training, through to applying a Housekeeping policy, revisiting the cleaning process of spills, or providing footwear trials for wet conditions or unavoidably slippery areas.

Expert advice on preventing slips, trips and falls

Take control of slips, trips and falls in your workplace and safeguard against the financial loss incurred by reducing the volume of incidents that occur. If you need help our team will review your workplace hazards and advise on the appropriate safety footwear that will help you prevent incidents from happening in the future.

Request a call back to find out how we can help you prevent slips, trips and falls.