Slips, trips and falls at work
Last updated: May 17, 2023
Slips, trips and falls (STF’s) at work may be extremely embarrassing, but did you know that they are one of the most common causes of injury at work? STF’s can cause significant injury, potentially resulting in:
The below guidance outlines your rights and responsibilities as an employee or worker, how to avoid slipping and tripping at work, and what to do if you suffer an accident or injury at work due to a STF accident.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) requires employers to ensure the health and safety of their employees, and anyone affected by their work (as reasonably practicable).
Under the HSWA, employees and workers must also take care of their own health and safety, as well as that of others and must use safety equipment, or personal protective equipment (PPE) that has been provided.
Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers must assess any risks at work (including STF risks) and take action to prevent them where possible.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 also require workplace floors to be suitable, in good condition and free from any obstructions so that people can safely move about.
Ultimately, it is your employer’s responsibility to ensure that the workplace is safe from STF hazards – for both employees and anyone affected by the business. However, under the HSWA, employees and workers also have a duty of care to adhere to e.g., if an employee leaves a trip hazard in a walkway, which causes someone to trip and hurt themselves, the employee will be responsible.
Where STF hazards cannot be removed, your employer is responsible for supplying all employees with PPE to help mitigate the likelihood of accidents occurring.
There are many reasons as to why people can slip, trip or fall over at work. The following provides examples of what can contribute to or cause accidents.
Slips and trips occur as a result of unintended or unexpected change between the contact of a person’s feet and the floor/walking surface. This simple fact highlights just how important good housekeeping, quality of flooring/walking surfaces, proper footwear and risk assessments are in preventing STF accidents.
Good housekeeping is vital in preventing slips and trips, this can include:
Another big cause of STF accidents is poor quality flooring and walking surfaces. To prevent slips and trips, your employer should ensure that all flooring is suitable for the type of work being done on them, install mats where STF risks are high, and highlighting any wet or slippery surfaces.
In workplaces where floors may be wet or oily, or where employees spend time outside, employers should assess the need for adequate footwear or PPE to avoid STF accidents.
Footwear should also fit comfortably, and prevent fatigue, which also improves the health and safety of employees.
Employers must manage health and safety risks at work – including slips and trips. To do this, by law, they, or Health and Safety Reps must conduct risk assessments and take sensible measures to control any risks in the workplace.
Once slip and trip risks have been identified, your employer must decide suitable and effective control measures to prevent these types of accidents, then put these control measures in place. This could include:
It is standard practice for employers to regularly conduct risk assessments, as well as speak to employees about potential risks.
At Community, we encourage our members to undertake safe working practices, including how to prevent slips, trips and falls – that’s why we offer courses on maintaining safe workplaces, preventing slips, trips and falls and other health and safety training, designed to keep you and your colleagues safe in the workplace. If you are interested in taking these courses or sign posting your colleague(s), click here to contact our Community Learn team who will be happy to help.
If you are interested in creating a safe working environment, you may be interested in becoming a Community Health and Safety Rep. As a Rep, you can help to implement vital health and safety policy and raise awareness on good working practices. Click here to find out more and register your interest.
If you believe there is a risk of slips and trips to you and your colleagues, you should immediately notify your employer or Health and Safety Rep as they will be able to assess the risk and introduce measures to reduce it. Other actions you can do include:
If you have slipped and tripped at work, we recommend you follow these steps:
This will entirely depend on what caused your slip, trip or fall, and whether the accident was your fault or not. You may be eligible to make a personal injury claim and receive compensation if:
If you have sustained any injuries as the result of employer negligence, you may be eligible to claim compensation and personal injury. You should inform Community immediately if you intend to do this as our legal team may be able to support your claim and through the process. 100% of any compensation won will go directly to you. Find out more.
We understand that you may be wary about being fired or treated unfairly if you make a personal injury claim against your employer as a result of an STF accident. If your employer attempts to dismiss you, or mistreats you because of your claim, they may make a claim to an employment tribunal under unfair or constructive dismissal. As with claiming personal injury, you should notify us immediately so we can provide legal support through the process.
It is important to note that when a personal injury claim is made against an employer, it will be paid through their insurance. Making a claim will not leave your employer or workplace out of pocket.
If you need help or advice, please contact us at email@example.com or on 0800 389 6332.