Dealing with slips and trips in the workplace

When actress, Jennifer Lawrence took a tumble at this year’s Oscars, she discovered what every circus clown has always known: people think falling over is hilariously funny.

Since the earliest court jesters through the golden age of silent movies to every episode of You’ve Been Framed, slips and trips are universal comic staples that have us all rolling in the aisles.

Just Google ‘falling over videos’ if you need further evidence. You’ll be presented with an endless stream of catwalk models, hairbrained skateboarders, shaky old ladies, unsuspecting kids and even the odd baby monkey – all of whom have generated millions of views on the back of their misfortunes.

No laughing matter

But, in the workplace, slips and trips are no laughing matter. Indeed, they can be very serious. Even relatively modest accidents can result in pain, loss of earnings and other damages. That’s why any accident in a workplace environment should be dealt with immediately.

From bruises to broken bones, you may be entitled to compensation if you’ve had an accident in work that is caused as a result of a failure by your employer to provide adequate care. The law is clear. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), all employees have a right to be kept safe from any harm in the workplace. It’s as simple as that.

There’s no need to suffer in silence. If you’ve had an accident, a conversation with a personal injury solicitor can quickly establish your rights.

A look at the UK’s annual workplace injury statistics may come as a surprise, and show that slips and trips in the workplace are responsible for on average:

Slips and trips can happen anywhere – especially when you least expect it. In fact, they account for almost a third of all major injuries! Last year, around 10,000 people in the UK suffered serious injury because of a slip or trip in the workplace. This ended up costing companies roughly £152 million excluding loss of production and other costs.*

Human error

In many cases the source of the problem is relatively easy to pinpoint. Accidents are often the result of human error and carelessness – and, of course, when proper risk assessments haven’t been completed. Accidents are often caused by:

  • Wet or contaminated conditions
  • Poor organisation or maintenance
  • Uneven floor surfaces
  • Unsuitable floor coverings
  • Wet floors
  • Trailing cables

Prevention is better than cure

Whether you’re an employee or an employer, it’s worth taking these simple steps to do everything you can to prevent accidents:

  1. Inspect your premises for hazards – e.g. uneven floors and trailing cables
  2. Consider who may be at risk in your workplace
  3. Thoroughly evaluate any risks
  4. If you identify risks, take action right away
  5. Don’t forget to regularly review your workplace safety standards

And, if you have had a slip or a trip in your office contact a personal injury solicitor immediately. They’ll give you clear advice on your options. Remember, no injury is too small – if you’ve been injured at work, you may have a claim.

*All statistics courtesy of Health & Safety Executive: