Two Left Feet - the truth about Slips and Trips
Posted on 26th January 2023 at 11:53
Have you ever been walking along and tripped on your own feet? I’m confident many of us could raise our hands in (slightly embarrassed) unison and concur we suffered no more than a minor scrape and bruised ego, promptly laughing it off as we picked ourselves up and carried on about our day. Sadly, slips and trips in the workplace frequently result in injuries far worse than the bruised ego many of us have suffered.
I recently investigated an accident where a team member tripped, resulting in a nasty cut to the head and fractures to both wrists. The impact on her daily life was significant, making everyday tasks we often take for granted difficult and, at times, impossible. Remember, this team member was not only part of the workforce, but also a wife, mum, friend.
The HSE advise that slips and trips, on average, cause over a third of all major injuries making them the most common cause of injury at work. They also account for half of all reported injuries to members of the public. It’s something we can, and should, get better at managing.
There are the practical things to get comfortable with, for example:
Are floors and stairs free from rubbish, trailing cables etc and in good condition?
Are identified issues resolved promptly?
Is the floor surface suitable for the work environment?
Is there a procedure in place for swift management of spills/ leaks?
Do you have a winter weather plan for outdoor areas?
But if you truly want to drive a reduction in the risk, it goes beyond the list of physical hazards……
The initial accident investigation by the line manager put the team member at fault because they ‘decided to carry out that activity in an unsafe manner’- by labelling human error as the root cause it provided no tangible opportunity to move forward and reduce the risk of it happening again. The thing is, even if it had been the root cause there were multiple mitigating factors that provided an opportunity to improve.
If we reframe how we think about slip and trip hazards, or investigating accidents, not only can we begin to assess risk fully, but we can also spark meaningful conversations that drive truly positive outcomes:
Do the team understand WHY it’s so important to dynamically assess the task and environment so they can make safe, informed choices?
Are the team EMPOWERED to speak up when they see something unsafe- and do they proactively fix it?
Do they ENCOURAGE each other to do the right thing and celebrate success?
Are they all aware of the responsibilities towards each other?
Our team are our most valuable asset and leaders have an invaluable opportunity to drive awareness of slips and trips and positively impact the culture. Let’s all strive to create environments where everyone looks out for each other, and we all get to go home safe.
If you need any help sorting out a strategy that can help you improve how you manage and control slip and trip risks, then please call Leanne on 07709 675925, or Tracey on 07872 589286. Alternatively, you can drop us a message at email@example.com.
Tagged as: Slips Trips and Falls
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