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Slips and trips costing £73M on annual leave

09 May 2019

Employers spend over £73million annually on employee leave due to slips, trips and falls in the workplace, according to new research by Safety Services Direct.

During 2017/2018, 31% of all non-fatal workplace injuries were caused by slips, trips and falls; with an estimated 172,050 cases self-reported by employees.

The Health & Safety Executive also reports that 75% of all self-reported incidents result in up to seven days of absence, meaning that employees are on leave for almost 130,000 days annually: a wasted cost to any employer.

The irony is that slip, trip and fall injuries are some of the easiest to prevent in the workplace. There are measures that can be put into place to significantly reduce these risks such as:

• Keep walking surfaces clean and avoid cluttering

When walkways are clear, the risk of injury greatly reduces. With a path that is unobstructed, the chance of a person falling over an object reduces, as does the potential of a spill that could create a dangerous slipping hazard.

• Clean Up Spills Immediately

If a spill happens in a workplace, it should be cleaned up immediately. If certain liquids penetrate the surface, it can actually cause a surface to be more slippery than before after it has been cleaned up. When a spill takes place, warning signs should be placed around the hazard immediately, and whilst the cleanup of the wet floor takes place. If a floor is known to be slippery anyway, this needs to be highlighted with an appropriate sign.

• Signage

Using health and safety signs that are clear and well placed helps identify areas with potential problems. Placing a sign that indicates a step, gap or an uneven ground brings attention to hazards and increases their awareness and attentiveness. Reflective tape can also highlight issues.

• Step Ladders

Providing accessible equipment such as ladders and step ladders helps employees reach heights safely. By ensuring options are available, this reduces the possibility of an employee being hurt by climbing on chairs or tables.

• Manage Wires

Wires that are out in the open can create obstacles for employees and the public which could cause injury. Cables should be put behind walls or under carpets so they remain hidden. Install all power sources, servers, internet connections in places that can be easily accessed, to avoid cables appearing along walkways.

• Check Condition of the Floor

Cracks and holes in the pavement on the outside should be filled in. Repairing them immediately will reduce the risk of any injury happening. When an area is waiting to be fixed, warning signs should be placed to highlight the danger.

• Keep Filing Cabinets and Drawers Closed

Everybody has to open a filing cabinet or a drawer during the day, but leaving them open can lead to injury. Staff should be encouraged to ensure all drawers and cabinets are closed when not used to avoid potential dangers.