Slips, trips and falls on the same surface are the number one cause of accidents in UK workplaces and accounted for 31% of self-reported non-fatal injuries last year (HSE, Slips & Trips). In numbers that equates to almost 200,000 workers who were injured from slip and trip incidents, many of which could probably have been avoided.
One of the most common causes of slips and falls are from contaminated floor surfaces. When preparing to carry out a risk assessment in your workplace, it is helpful to carry out a hazard spotting checklist to help you identify any slip hazards. Before you start, it may be worth reading this helpful document from the HSE that has been specially created to help Health and Safety Managers and business owners identify where these slip hazards may exist in their workplace. It is important to consider both indoor and outdoor risks as well as the possibility of bringing in contaminants from the outdoors into the workplace.
Once you have identified where the slip hazards are in your workplace, you can start building your risk assessment. The HSE recommends that you follow certain steps:
- Prevent contamination from getting on the floor;
- Control contamination;
- Eliminate adverse environmental conditions;
- Improve floor conditions;
- Put in footwear controls.
In all of these cases, it is important that you review your working practices. When it comes to the contamination of floors you should consider how floors become contaminated and if there is a way in which this could be prevented.
If the contamination can’t be prevented, what could you do to reduce the risk of slips?
Using specially designed absorbents to line wet works areas is a potential solution. Not only will they absorb spills, leaks, drips and splashes, but they are also easy to pick up and replace at regular intervals. Look at how people work, including cleaning up after themselves and whether they have a ‘see it, sort it’ mentality towards spills and contamination of workplace floors.
Do you operate a timely cleaning regime and do you have the correct equipment to deal quickly and efficiently with workplace spills and contamination?
Are there adverse environmental conditions such as rainwater and condensation that are creating potential slip hazards and if so, how can they either be eliminated or controlled?
Using Absorbent rolls in areas where rainwater can enter the building or absorbent socks can help prevent water from spreading through the workplace and help control the potential for slip incidents. The HSE offers some practical advice on how you can help to reduce workplace accidents from slip hazards as well as handy risk management advice and risk mapping tools.
It is a legal requirement of any UK workplace that handles, stores or uses liquids other than water as part of its business, to carry stock of this equipment so that spills, leaks and drips don’t become slip hazards and when it comes to the correct equipment to help clean up spill hazards. CleanWorks has a wide variety of absorbents in different formats that will clean up spills quickly and effectively. Visit greenham.com to see the full range.
Disclaimer: The information provided through Greenham Pulse is for general guidance only and is not legal advice. Greenham Pulse is not a substitute for Health and Safety consultancy. You should seek independent advice about any legal matter.