Slips, trips & falls shatter lives
Slip, trip and fall incidents in the workplace cost 40 workers their lives and accounted for over 15,000 major injuries last year, says Alison Wellens, Head of the Slips, Trips and Falls Programme for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Slips and trips are the most common cause of major workplace injury in Britain and more workplace deaths are triggered by falls from height than any other cause.
These figures highlight the very real and serious nature of preventable slips, trips and falls in the workplace. Slips, trips and falls might sound funny, but they shatter the lives of thousands of British workers every year.
As well as the tragic human cost, preventable slips, trips and falls are having a serious financial impact on the UK. We estimate that the combined financial costs incurred by society as a whole is around £800m a year.
In a bid to reduce these incidents, we recently re-launched the ‘Shattered Lives’ campaign. It aims to educate employers and employees about how easily incidents can happen and the simple, often cost-effective measures that can help to reduce them.
The campaign uses striking images of workers ’shattering’ body parts to show how devastating these incidents can be. The campaign is now in its third year and we are keen to build on the momentum of the two previous phases. We want to encourage businesses to take action and help by providing practical advice to enable them to do so.
The campaign is targeted at sectors where there are a high number of slips, trips and falls incidents each year, specifically health and social care, education, food manufacturing, food retail, catering and hospitality, building and plant maintenance and construction.
On our new campaign website, people can find out information on how to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls in the workplace and see what other organisations, such as Sainsbury’s and First Line Digital, have done. Included on the site is a slips and trips e-learning tool (STEP) and a work at height access equipment information toolkit (WAIT).
Advice ranges from how to deal with spills and other slip risks in the STEP tool, to how to select the most appropriate access equipment for occasional work at height in the WAIT toolkit.
Most managers know that their business needs to tackle health and safety risks and most have precautionary measures in place.
Depending on the degree of risk and the size of business, they may include a policy document and practical arrangements to recover a situation by, for example, cleaning up spillages.
Over time, however, complacency can creep in and without proper awareness of slip, trip and fall risks and how to manage and prevent them, new and existing workers may not appreciate the value of such arrangements.
The ‘Shattered Lives’ campaign and the free online tools provide businesses with an opportunity to re-visit their policies and practical arrangements.