Slips, trips, and falls are the most common cause of injury in UK workplaces.
They cost employers over £500 million per year. This includes sickness costs, equipment damage, production delays, and loss of expertise, among others.
The effect of a slippery floor for the individual who was injured, includes a loss of income, pain, and stress.
It not only impacts your business but society and the economy at large, costing over £800 million with £133 million per year in costs to the health service.
We discuss how you can prevent these common injuries to avoid a slippery floor risk and added costs, what the law is on the subject, and how to carry out a slips, trips, and falls risk assessment.
Causes of slips, trips, and falls
• Methods of cleaning
• Floor type
Avoiding slips, trips, and falls at work is not just to ensure you don’t have to shell out money, but you are obligated by law to ensure safety at work.
The Health and safety at Work etc Act 1974 states employers have to ensure the health and safety of all employees, and anyone affected by their work as is reasonably practicable.
Employees also have to take responsibility for their own safety and that of others by following any health and safety rules.
While there is law on keeping employees safe, it is not dictated by law that you must carry out certain tests to avoid slips, trips, and falls.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (Regulation 3) states the responsibilities on employers to assess risks and to take action.
Finally, The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (Regulation 12) requires floors to be suitable, in good condition, and free from obstructions.
If you do not follow the laws on health and safety in your workplace, you could receive fines, imprisonment, and disqualification.
How to prevent slips and trips at work
Preventing slips, trips, and falls in the workplace is not difficult and can save a lot of money and stress.
There are tests that can be done to check if your flooring is slip resistant.
Ramp tests give slip resistance data and is used by the Health and Safety Executive.
Sled tests can be used for the measurement of floor surface friction of clean and dry floors.
A floor slip resistance tester is used to check if there is a high propensity for slip and fall accidents, either dry or wet.
Uneven floor surfaces
Uneven floor surfaces can make it easy for people to trip. If floors are not level and it is not made obvious, then this can be a hazard.
Ensure floor surfaces are aligned and if there are any changes such as a step down, then highlight this with signs if this cannot be fixed.
Be careful about sticking anything, such as hazard tape, on the floor, as this can also cause a trip hazard when it becomes worn.
Wet floor hazard prevention
Wet floors are an obvious slipping hazard, so whenever the floor has just been cleaned, and it cannot be quickly dried, then place slippery floor signs to highlight the danger.
Mats can be a good way to give friction to flooring that is slippery. Again, be careful that the mats do not cause a trip hazard when joining with other surfaces.
Poor lighting can cause slip and trip hazards because people can’t see far enough to see.
Ensure lighting is adequate in your workplace and you can use sensor lighting, so it won’t mean a big increase in your electric bill.
Footwear is important in preventing slips. For example, in restaurant kitchens, chefs usually wear certain footwear such as Crocs or other robust footwear.
This not only prevents slips, but it can protect their feet if something falls to the floor.
Obstacles in the way of foot traffic is an obvious hazard that people could fall over.
Make sure fire exits are always kept clear and boxes or other materials are moved to the correct place as soon as possible.
Using the wrong cleaning products on your floor can cause slips and trips.
This was the case for a precision equipment manufacturing company.
They moved to a new office with linoleum floors and suddenly there were lots of slips occurring.
It was discovered the cleaner was using regular washing up liquid to clean the floors as the cleaning product that should have been used was stored further away and was an inconvenience to get.
To avoid this happening in your workplace, ensure staff or cleaners are trained what cleaning products to use.
You can also make sure cleaning products are conveniently stored in multiple areas to encourage their use.
A regular cleaning regime can prevent slippery floor hazards by clearing away debris and avoiding sticky floors.
It is a good idea to hire a cleaning contractor to ensure accountability for cleaning in your workplace. This helps to reduce germs as well as keeping floors clean.
Especially if you are a hospitality business this can be helpful, as having a clean floor is important to receiving a good food hygiene rating.
Spillages and accident reporting
Make sure everyone knows that spillages must be cleaned immediately and if there are any ongoing issues such as a water leak, to report them.
Slips, trips, and falls risk assessments
You can undertake several risk assessments to prevent slips, trips, and falls at your workplace.
A risk assessment can be a simple checklist that highlights all the possible dangers and you asses the area and tick off each or note any issues.
Avoiding slips, trips, and falls in your workplace
Slips, trips, and falls are the most common injury in workplaces.
They cost businesses and the economy at large a lot of money.
While there is no law to cover slips, trips, and falls in the workplace, you do have to ensure your workplace is safe for employees and anyone else using it.
Taking simple measures can avoid this added cost and stress and you can carry out a slips, trips, and falls risk assessment to ensure your workplace doesn’t face this problem.
At StainlessClean we provide cleaning products and services that help you to avoid added costs in your business.
Browse our range of long lasting and affordable cleaning products.