17th December 2013
Recent provisional Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures for accidents, which occurred in the workplace in the period 2011/12 once again saw slips, trips and falls with the highest numbers and therefore, also most likely to feature on accident claims for injury compensation.
According to the HSE, “Over half of reported major injuries to employees involved a slip, trip or fall (53 per cent). Three quarters of these were slips and trips.” RIDDOR found that the number of slip and trips alone accounted for 30,000 slips and trips, of which nearly 9,000 were major injuries with 21,000 - or more than a quarter - ‘over-3-day’ injuries.
The rate of new slip-trip injury cases was 210 per 100 000 workers but despite the highest number of major slips and trips was found to be in health and social care, the wholesale and retail sector reported nearly 350 incidents.
It might be thought that accidents rarely take place now in retail spaces such as supermarkets due to more rigorous enforcement of health and safety compliance procedures. Leaking fridges and unattended breakages/spillages may be less frequently seen but the potential for slipping or tripping up on the floor can still unexpectedly cause accidents and injuries.
In February alone, two incidents in retail spaces reflect the ever present risk of slips and trips as a result of negligence and failure to foresee a potential hazard risk.
In the first case, a female entering a shopping centre tripped on a rain-saturated mat placed between two sets of entrance doors causing her to fall and break an ankle in two places, requiring several operations and pins inserted to help recovery.
It was discovered that the floor mats had been incorrectly positioned by the cleaning contractor and thus, unable to cope with the volume of water, In addition, no warning signs were present to alert customers that the floor was wet.
In the second example, a retail shop assistant tripped over items, which had been left on the floor by work contractors, falling into store racking and injuring her arm and shoulder before landing on the floor.
Once again, negligence by the contractor to check the floor was free of any objects that would present a tripping hazard (to cause someone to slip, trip or fall) also meant a failure to ensure that work was carried out in a manner that would not put workers or customers in the shop at risk.