Slips, Trips and Falls

Each year thousands of workers are hurt in often preventable accidents caused by slips, trips and falls. We've put together some helpful tips to help you stay on top of this risk.

Slips, trips and falls account for many of the injuries in workplaces. However, they can also cause very serious injuries, mostly to the ankle, knee or back, leaving workers with long-term problems which can significantly affect their quality of life. Falls from relatively low heights can cause serious injury or death. Many slips, trips and falls are preventable, and there are often low-cost solutions you can put in place to eliminate or control the risk.

Watch out for:

  • Poor housekeeping/messy sites
  • Ground clutter
  • Unstable surfaces
  • Uneven or slippery floor surfaces
  • Lack of signage
  • Poor lighting
  • Unmarked changes in floor levels
  • Damaged flooring
  • Lack of/not using hand rails

What you can do:

  • Keep work and access areas clear
  • Take time to tidy as you work
  • Pay attention to your surroundings
  • Put tools away
  • Wear suitable footwear with good grip
  • Keep areas well-lit
  • Keep deliveries and skips always from work areas and access points
  • Isolate, barricade or cover penetrations, excavations, open cavities, manholes and access hatches – ensure they are clearly marked and identified
  • Have designated areas for waste collection and provide skips and bins. Make sure everyone knows who is responsible for waste removal
  • Use mechanical lifting aids rather than carrying heavy or unwieldy loads that block the view ahead
  • Use cordless tools where possible. If you need to use cables for temporary lighting or power tools, run the cables at a high level
  • Improve the design of the environment/site e.g. install handrails
  • Communicate with workers and visitors about hazards
  • Allow extra time when conditions are slippery
  • Check your path is clear before carrying loads and make sure you can see over and around your load
  • Treat slippery surfaces with stone or grit, depending on the conditions
  • Make sure you signpost any slippery areas
  • Consider using a ramp for any changes in level. Where this is not possible, use signs to warn workers to look out for a level change
  • Do a step back 5 x 5: take five steps back (if it’s safe to do so) and spend five minutes planning the job

Step Back 5 x 5

Step back five paces and spend five minutes planning. Ask yourself:

  • What will I be doing?
  • What are the hazards?
  • What equipment and plant do I need?
  • How can I get hurt?
  • What if something unexpected happens?

Remember to always choose the most effective controls that are proportionate to the risk, and appropriate to the situation. Our Seven Point Analysis poster is a great free tool that helps keeps common on-site risks top of mind. To download your free poster, check out the posters and signage in the products and services section.

Site Safe offers an Accident Investigation and Prevention course that covers the causation and corrective actions of trips, slips and falls. Find out more.