How can you prevent slips and trips as an employer?

“It’s my own fault for using PowerPoint”. When Dwight, from the hit U.S TV series the Office, gave a health and safety talk using PowerPoint – he realised his mistake immediately. A health and safety talk can be an excuse for employees to daydream. So in order to get his employees attention, he staged a fire. A little extreme, but no one in the office will ever fall asleep during one of his health and safety talks again.

In his initial presentation, Dwight made a typical employer’s error. He thought everyone would care as much about health and safety rules as he did. Right? Wrong. Employees won’t be the ones held accountable for accidents that happen in the workplace due to employer negligence. So, as an employer, you have a legal obligation to ensure your employees are in a safe and healthy work environment. If you don’t, this can lead to personal injury claims being brought against you.

We recently looked at slips and trips in the workplace and how they can result in personal injury claims. This time round, we’ll explore some guidance for employers including:

  • The responsibilities of an employer
  • Steps to prevent slips and trips
  • Examples of how to prevent slips and trips
  • What your employees can do to prevent slips and trips

It’s your responsibility

There are three laws, which as an employer you must follow in relation to slips and trips. Before you take any action, read these laws carefully.

  1. Under the Health and Safety at work Act 1974, employers are required to ensure the health and safety of all employees and anyone who may be affected by their work environment so far as is reasonably practicable. This includes taking preventative measures to avoid slip and trip risks.
  2. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to assess risks and where necessary take action to address them.
  3. The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 require floors to be suitable, in good condition and free from obstructions.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/slips/law.htm

In simple terms you must make sure your employees are safe from harm through managing risks appropriately. This is vital to avoiding accidents in the workplace and avoiding employees claiming for compensation.

How to prevent slips and trips

Being aware of the laws that govern safety in the workplace is just the start. It’s also vital to explore practical measures that can make a real difference. Here are seven straightforward steps you can take to help prevent slips and trips:

  1. Carry out an initial risk assessment. This involves identifying any risks that may cause a slip or a trip. You are required to do this by law. Look into who is most a risk and how find out how to protect them.
  2. Be sure to ask your employees if they see any risks in the workplace.
  3. Next, decide what measures are needed.
  4. Create a list so that you can easily see what has been done and what else needs to be done.
  5. Deal with all risks properly by putting prevention measures in place.
  6. Record all findings, no matter how small they may seem.
  7. Review the list as regularly as possible.

It is desirable to have a proper management system in place to ensure preventative measures are kept to a high standard.

Avoiding slips and trips at work

Here are some ways to avoid slips and trips. These may seem obvious but employers make these mistakes every day.

  • Make sure the correct cleaning methods are being used
  • Make sure there are no loose cables lying around
  • Make sure that employees inform you of any risks they observe

These measures are a good way to start making your workplace safer.

How can your employees help you prevent slips and trips?

Your employees want to work in a safe environment. So they are the best people to help you ensure that the risk of slips and trips is as low as possible.

Ask your employees to:

  • Clean up minor spills or report spills to someone who will clean it
  • Report anything that is faulty in the office
  • Keep their work area tidy!
  • Keep you informed of any risks, however small

Slips and trips are, in many instances, avoidable when proper measures are put in place. Most slips and trips are due to human error. As an employer you can greatly lower the risk of slips and trips occurring in your workplace by following the measures above.

In order to prevent work accidents occurring, not only should you avoid Dwight’s error of using PowerPoint, but you should also carry out regular risk assessments. Failing to do this can lead to personal injury claims being brought against you.