Preventing winter slips, trips and falls

Posted on: 14 January 2014

As the dark nights creep in, and the weather becomes wetter and colder, the risk of slips, trips and falls by employees and the general public increases over the winter months.

According to statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) slips, trips and falls are the most common cause of major injuries at work. On average they account for:

  • 33% of all reported major injuries
  • 20% of over-3-day injuries to employees
  • 50% of all reported accidents to members of the public
  • 2 fatalities a year
  • A £512 million per year cost to employers

Apart from the obvious resource implications should an employee be signed off from work, legal actions brought as a result of an injury can be extremely damaging to a small business. Whilst insurance will cover some of the costs, there are simple and minimal cost effective measures that can be taken to reduce these accidents.

Here at Premierline, we offer guidance on how to reduce these risks this winter.

Step 1:

Carry out a risk assessment by looking at the areas that may be used by employees or members of the public including:

  • car parks
  • smoking areas
  • walkways - both employee and pedestrian
  • entrances and exits from the building(s)

You should be particularly mindful of areas that are on a slope, dark, uneven, or wet, as these are the main causes of accidents and injuries.

Step 2:

Monitor the weather and temperature in your area. The MET office and BBC Weather websites are good sources of up to date information, including warnings of 'cold snaps'.

Step 3:

If the temperature drops to, or is near to freezing you should take action immediately by gritting the areas identified in the risk assessment. If any areas are particularly hazardous, you should consider sectioning them off using cones, and divert employees and the public to an alternative route.

Step 4:

Train all employees on prevention of slips, trips and falls, and encourage them to actively identify and take action to report or remove risks themselves.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) requires employers to ensure the health and safety of all employees and anyone who might be affected by their work. This includes taking steps to control slip and trip risks, and whilst we have identified that the winter months bring additional risks, employers should ensure they control, monitor and review these all year round.

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