Businesses such as shops, restaurants and offices and public organisations such as schools, councils and hospitals need to be especially vigilant and take steps to reduce risks, to protect people and protect themselves.
Most slips, trips and falls shouldn’t happen at all, but as they say ‘accidents do happen’, and people will claim, if they can. The no-win-no-fee approach of the personal injury claims and compensation sector increases the focus in this area.
Duty of care
Those responsible for public areas quite rightly have a duty of care to protect people from injury. Employers have to follow health and safety guidelines to prevent accidents, and do what they can to remove the conditions where accidents might occur.
The most common types of injury
Thankfully, in most cases a slip, trip or fall will only cause minor injuries such as bumps and bruises, cuts and grazes. However, sometimes there are more serious injuries and even permanent disabilities as a result.
These could include:
- Muscular strain such as back and spinal injuries, neck injuries, herniated discs, inflamed tendons, torn ligaments
- Broken bones and joints such as broken wrists, ribs, fractures and other broken bones and dislocated shoulders
- Impact injuries and blunt trauma, such as head and facial injuries, concussion.
Your first aid procedures will also be needed if an accident and injury such as these occurs on your premises.
Reduce the risk of slipping
If floors become slippery there is a risk that someone could slip over, so:
- Spillages of liquids on smooth floor surfaces should be cleaned up quickly
- Oily and greasy substances may need thorough cleaning to remove residual slipperiness
- Outdoor walkways should be made safe, especially in winter when frost, ice, snow and leaves create hazardous conditions.
Appropriate equipment and materials should be available to people who are responsible for cleaning and clearing.
Reduce the risk of tripping
If there are uneven surfaces or obstacles, especially temporary ones, someone could fall if they don’t see them, so:
- Wires, cables, hose pipes, and similar items should be routed in a way to minimise risk, and removed as soon as finished with
- Boxes, crates, and other obstacles and temporary items should be kept out of the way to avoid creating a tripping hazard
- Carpets, rugs and mats that are lose or rucked up, tiles and paving stones that are cracked or faulty and similar issues should be attended to.
Door-ways, steps and stairs are high risk areas so pay particular attention in these places.
Five steps to reduce risks
Slip, trip and fall injuries are one of the most common types of accidents in the UK. Prevention is better than cure, and investing to get the strategy right is a better long-term solution than just tackling the symptoms, and risking claims.
- Develop a culture where Health and Safety is seen as everyone’s responsibility
- Raise awareness and educate people in your team and organisation in a positive and memorable way
- Review the guidelines in your staff manual and operational procedures on a regular basis
- Conduct regular reviews by walking around your office, factory or premises to check things are as they should be
- Where there are special projects or out of the ordinary activities, include a risk review as part of the planning process
If this raises any questions or issues please contact Acorn by phone or email and let’s see how we can help.