It’s winter and the weather is wet, windy and occasionally icy. This time of year can provide a multitude of slipping and falling hazards so to help keep you safe and sound over the winter period, we’ve put together a quick guide to securing your work environment.
Approximately 40% of all reported major injuries at work are the result of a slip or trip*, which can be compounded by following on to other injuries such as burns or falling from a height. Many of these accidents can be prevented by following some simple procedures, which are easy to implement and low-cost.
- What are the most likely risks in your particular workplace? Ask your colleagues and compile a list.
- How could each of these be prevented? The solution might be as simple as a door mat for wet footwear, how you store equipment, or a handrail on a walkway.
- Record your hazard findings and the measures proposed, either in a hard copy document, a shared location on your company computer network, or both.
- Agree to have regular reviews – No workplace is static and health and safety will need to evolve with the business.
Remember the five-stage risk assessment:
1 - Look for slip and trip hazards around the workplace. (including floor coverings, uneven floors and trailing cables)
2 - Decide who might be harmed and how. Are some groups at risk more than others?
3 - Consider the risks. Are there already measures in place to deal with the risks? Are floor coverings suitable for the area?
4 - Record findings if you have five or more employees.
5 - Regularly review the assessments.
After considering your work environment and the potential risks here are some quick, practical steps you can take right now to prevent slips and trips in the workplace:
- Is the lighting sufficient? You should be able to see exactly where you are going and should be able to spot any potential tripping or slipping hazards on the floor.
- Make sure your flooring is the right type for your working environment – e.g. if your workplace is prone to wet floors, choose a type of flooring which provides more grip and is less slippery when wet.
- Have regular reviews of the workplace to make sure all avoidable obstructions which could cause trips such as tools or wires are removed.
- For frequently wet floors, use matting for entrances and exits.
- Minimise risk of tripping by ensuring all equipment, whether in the office or on a site, is kept clean and stored correctly.
- Minimise risk of unnecessary wet workspaces by ensuring all machinery and buildings are maintained with no leakages.
- Ensure your floor cleaning method is done with safety in mind (e.g. if you’re cleaning smooth floors, put up slip warnings or ensure floor is dry before allowing people to walk on the floor).
- Are you using the right cleaning formula? Ensure that the chemicals you use on the floors for cleaning don’t produce any slippery residue.
- Regular and scheduled cleaning rotas can help to ensure that any spillages are guaranteed to be cleaned within the minimal amount of time.
- Footwear that is supplied to employees as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be given free of charge.
- If a floor simply cannot avoid becoming wet and a slip risk, make sure that footwear provided for employees is slip-resistant.
- Give all footwear a test run before being used on a wider company-level to make sure that the best possible kind of footwear is chosen.
- Ensure that employees are encouraged to maintain Health & Safety procedures and foster a culture of consciousness about safety in the workplace.
- Involve your employees in Health & Safety discussions and reviews. They may have spotted some potential risks you haven’t.
By now it should be clear that avoiding slips and trips in the workplace can be a walk in the park, as long as it’s done correctly. Following these steps can help ensure you can enjoy this Christmas safely and securely.
For proper lighting to keep your workspaces illuminated, explore our lighting towers, LED lighting, and indoor lighting.
To see our range of cordless equipment, which can drastically reduce tripping hazards in your workspace, click here.
For water resistant and affordable work clothes, check our range of PPE clothing.
Or if you want to browse our entire range of equipment to power you through the winter, click here.
For more on the ins and outs of slips, trips and falls safety, check out the HSE website, at www.hse.gov.uk
If you want to explore our range of safety training, equipment and information, visit our Intelligent Safety site.
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