Aah – those Slips, Trips and Falls! You might think that in today’s workplaces where health and safety looks to govern every move you make (and every breath you take) the risk of these types of accident have been made redundant.
Sadly, not true. The reality is that there still an excessively high number of accident claims for injury compensation brought by victims of employer neglect and a lack of risk assessment.
According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, “Slips, trips and falls are the largest cause of accidents in all sectors … that result in more than 3 days absence from work.”
It still being reported that the most common type of accident in the construction sector involves slips or trips (40 per cent), and falls from a height (more than 20 per cent), accounting for more than half of reported major injuries to employees.
According to RIDDOR, between 2011 and 2012, slip and trips alone were responsible for 30,000 incidents, of which nearly 9,000 were major injuries with 21,000 developing into ‘over-3-day’ injuries – or an average of 2 in every 5 occurrences.
There is always a potential risk when walking across any surface, whether indoors or outside, in the private workplace or on the public highway, caused by the smallest obstacles to a lack of adequate friction. While the most common cause is a wet surface, losing balance often takes place on stairs, steps (including stepladders), footpaths, ramps and kerbs, corridors and halls, from vehicles, while manual handling and even when a floor is being cleaned.
It has been estimated that between 2010 and 2012, more than 1 in 5 of all workplace had not carried out a risk assessment to prevent slips, trips and falls.
In February 2013, it would appear that in some regions, nearly a half of all claims made against retailers were due to slips, trips and falls.
The worst offenders were Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing where a nearly a third of premises were not risk assessed, followed closely by Wholesale and Retail, and Accommodation and Food Services. More than 15 per cent of organisations in the Healthcare, Transport, Manufacturing, Education, Construction, Water Supply and Sewerage sectors had not carried out risk assessments for slips, trips and falls.