The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently highlighted the top cause of major injuries in UK’s workplaces — slips, trips and falls — urging employers to tackle the issue.

  • On average, they cause over a third of all major injuries and can lead to other types of accidents, such as falls from height, machinery accidents or scalding.

  • 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.

  • In the UK there is a fall on stairs every 90 seconds.

However, the HSE says slips, trips and falls are almost entirely preventable, often with simple inexpensive interventions.

The HSE says properly understanding both stair design and human performance is the key to managing risk and simple, cost-effective improvements to existing stairs can significantly reduce the risk of a serious fall.

Most slips occur when floors become wet or contaminated and many trips are due to poor housekeeping. The HSE suggests the following steps to reduce some of the risks around slips, trips and falls.

  • 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 workers.

  • Make sure workers wear footwear that is suitable for the environment they are working in.

  • Make sure flooring is suitable, or floors likely to get wet are of a type that does not become unduly slippery.

Last reviewed 3 July 2019