You lose traction on a slippery floor and start to fall,
hitting the ground with a thud. If you’re lucky, you’ll walk away with only
your ego bruised. If you’re not, you could be seriously injured.
Slips, trips and falls are among the most common causes of
serious injuries at work – second only to hazardous manual tasks. And you don’t
have to fall far. Falling as little as two metres can result in serious injury
and lengthy amounts of time off work.
While the most common injuries are cuts, bruises, sprains,
strains, fractures and dislocations, more serious injuries can also occur, and
What do we mean by slips, trips and falls?
A slip: is when your foot loses traction with the
ground surface. This can be due to inappropriate footwear or walking on
slippery surfaces that are highly polished, wet or greasy.
A trip: can occur when you catch your foot on an
object or surface and lose your balance. Most commonly, people trip on low
obstacles that are difficult to spot, such as uneven edges in flooring, loose
mats, open drawers, and poorly stored materials such as untidy tools or
A fall: can result from a slip or trip, although they
can also occur from falling from low heights such as steps, stairs, and curbs,
or falling into a hole, ditch or into water.
How to prevent injury
- Report any inadequate or broken
lighting, which can prevent someone noticing slip or trip hazards.
- Avoid and/or report trailing
cables or other low obstacles such as open drawers, loose mats or carpet tiles,
or wrinkled carpeting.
- Keep walking areas clear of
clutter or obstructions.
- Clean up or report any
contaminants immediately. Contaminants can be wet, such as water, oil or
grease; or dry, such as dust, metal shavings, plastic bags or off-cuts.
- Wear appropriate footwear for
your role. It should be suitable for your type of work and work environment,
comfortable, and with an adequate non-slip sole and appropriate tread pattern.
- Always take your time and pay attention
to where you are going.
- If you are carrying or pushing
anything, make sure it doesn’t prevent you from seeing any obstructions.