Slips and trips

Most slips occur when floors become wet or contaminated and many trips are due to poor housekeeping.

The solutions are often simple and cost-effective and a basic assessment of the risks should help to identify what employers can do to tackle slips and trips risks.

Case study
An employer recognized they had problems with slips and trips on wet hospital floors. In a two-year period, 100 members of staff had reported slips or trips on wet, recently cleaned floors.

How was the problem tackled?

The national inspectorate recommended a dry mopping system, using microfibre mops that reduce the amount of residue left on the floor during and after mopping. The staff were also advised to mop and dry the floor in sections before moving onto the next part of the ward, to provide safe access around the area.

Since the employer implemented the system, it has seen an 85% reduction in slips and trips from the 100 reported in the previous two years.

Why is dealing with slips and trips important?

Slips and trips are the most common cause of injury at work. On average, they cause over a third of all major injuries and can lead to other types of accidents, such as falls from height or falls into machinery.

Slips and trips also account for half of all reported injuries to members of the public in workplaces where there is public access, such as hospitals, shops and restaurants.

What do employers have to do?

To help prevent these accidents they need to think about what might cause slips or trips in their workplace and decide whether they are doing enough to prevent them.

Once they have identified the risks they must control them.

How can they do it?

  • Prevent floors from getting wet or contaminated in the first place.
  • Have procedures in place for both routine and responsive cleaning.
  • If a spillage does happen, clean it up quickly.
  • If floors are left wet after cleaning, stop anyone walking on them until they are dry and use the right cleaning methods and products.
  • Look out for trip hazards, such as uneven floors or trailing cables, and encourage good housekeeping by your workers.
  • Make sure workers wear footwear that is suitable for the environment they are working in.
  • Make sure your flooring is suitable, or floors likely to get wet are of a type that does not become unduly slippery.

Find out more
  1. Slips and Trips eLearning Package (STEP) This is designed to help readers assess and manage slip and trip hazards in the workplace. STEP is a great introduction to slips and trips, and covers how they are caused, why preventing them is important and how to tackle them.It includes easy-to-follow guidance, case studies, videos, animations and quizzes. These are designed to give information needed to set up and maintain a safer way of working.
  2. HSE’s slips and trips 
  3. Napo in... no laughing matter