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Totally Connected For Wire And Cable Tripping Accidents

17th December 2013
All manner of technology products and related gizmos continue to explode across every aspect of our lives. From the workplace to the home and on the move, it seems we are connected to everyone and everything, everywhere, all the time!

Each device may or may not need to be physically connected as Wifi access becomes more available. However, there may hardly be an office or workspace today, which does not own up to having their own spaghetti junction of ethernet, VGA and power supply cabling trailing around desks, workstations and even creeping along the floor like garden ivy.

Some offices are arranged so that all wires are supposed to be hidden safely behind office desks, and other furniture. However, Cable Wraps, trunking or similar attempts to control the takeover of floorspace by a tangle of wires seems futile as ever more technology arrives to jostle alongside mobiles, iPods, PCs, laptops, tablets, photocopiers, printers, scanners, telecom hubs, phone cables, phone chargers, etc

Accident claims for trips, slips and falls in cramped offices where cables or wires are peeking out from every desk, tabletop and storage box are commonplace. Just trying to manoeuvre around your personal desk could mean a foot becoming caught in a cable loop and an attempt to investigate underneath the desk often leads to banging the head on the underside of the desk!

Power plugs may not have been checked for quite some time and could be loose or bare wires exposed, posing the risk of an electric shock.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 instructs employers to assess slip and trip risks to employees and others who may be affected by their work activity and take action to control the risks.

Many employers do recognise they are responsible for a duty of care to their employees and try to ensure the main walkways are clear. However, where cables or wires have to cross the floor, any rubber nosing or secure hazard taping, which were first applied can soon be the worse for wear and no longer offer protection from a slip, trip or fall. In many instances, their condition may actually cause an employee to slip and suffer a potentially serious injury.

According to HSE Statistics for 2011-2012, more than 114 000 injuries in the workplace were reported by employers, and of the most frequent causes (slips, trips and falls), a staggering 50 per cent were due to ‘bad housekeeping’.

The HSE advice that a suitable walkway through the workplace should always be kept clear with no trailing wires or other obstructions. Floor areas around desks and workstations require sufficient working and storage space.