Government statistics show that slips and trips are the single biggest cause of major injury to workers in the UK. In 2016, more than 600,000 non-fatal injuries to employees were reported, 29 per cent of which were caused by a slip, trip, or fall. Every working day, someone is hurt so badly that they must take over a month off.

The risks

Common causes of slips, trips and falls at work include:
• Un-gritted pathways or pavements during cold weather
• Wet floors either due to wet weather or spillages
• Uneven pathways or pavements
• Inadequate safety barriers e.g. on scaffolding or raised platforms.

Employers’ legal duties

The law says employers must carry out risk assessments to identify risks to employees and anyone affected by their work. Employers must then take steps to reduce those risks as far as “reasonably practicable”. This includes taking measures to control slip and trip risks.

It is a legal requirement for employers to ensure floors are suitable for the workplace and are kept in a good condition and free from obstructions, in order to make sure workers can move around safely.

The laws at play

• Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
• Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) 1996
• Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
• Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977
• Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSW Act)

How to keep workers safe from slips, trips, and falls

1. Prevent contaminating substances from getting on the floor. If this is not possible, control the contamination by assessing work activities and putting cleaning regimes in place to quickly identify, signpost and clear away spills.

2. Get rid of environmental conditions that could stop people noticing slip, trip, and fall hazards. For example, checking that there is appropriate lighting or ensuring that if rainwater can enter the premises that it is clearly signposted and that when cleaning is in progress, and until floor surfaces have dried, there are warning signs displayed.

3. Ensure that where the workplace has walkways that they are kept clear by good housekeeping and that the design of the floor is appropriate and properly maintained.

4. Be prepared for adverse weather by making sure your workplace has sufficient grit to cover walkways, access points and parking areas.

5. Record any accidents caused by a slip, trip, or fall in a health and safety log book. This ensures there is an opportunity to monitor and review hazards and take steps to avoid further injury.

6. Provide training for staff in order to ensure an overall understanding of health and safety, as well as to help the company avoid the financial cost or lost time and compensation for slips, trips, and falls.

About Thompsons Solicitors

If you’ve been injured in a slip, trip or fall at work and think your employer was at fault, our specialist solicitors will be able to offer advice on how to make a claim. Our teams will gather evidence to establish whether your employer failed in its duties to carry out risk assessments and limit hazards in the workplace, and work with you to build a solid case for compensation. Contact us on 0800 0 224 224 for free, no obligation advice about making a personal injury claim or visit our website. 

Thompsons Solicitors has a proven track record of helping clients who have suffered sprains, broken bones and head injuries as a result of minor falls in the workplace, as well as supporting victims of more serious incidents such as falls from height resulting in multiple bodily injuries. We also act for most major trade unions, offering free legal services to hundreds of thousands of members across the UK. Find out more about our trade union legal services.