12 February 2020
Slips, trips and falls are responsible for thousands of preventable workplace injuries each year, the most common being musculoskeletal injuries (MSDs), cuts, bruises, fractures and dislocations. However, it is also important to remember that more serious injuries, and even death, can be the result.
From 2003-2015, slips, trips or falls caused the death of 386 workers, and were responsible for 23% of serious claims. In this same period, 56% of all slips, trips and falls were caused by environmental factors including slippery surfaces (following rain or due to spills), poor workplace design and maintenance, poor lighting on stairs and in walkways, poorly stored materials, and other trip hazards such as holes in the floor/floor coverings, electrical cords and uneven surfaces.
It’s important to be aware of how people and equipment move within and around your workplace. Photo: My Gateway.
All employees are responsible for safety in the workplace, and must follow WHS guidelines and procedures to reduce the risk of injury caused by slips, trips and falls. You can do this by:
- Taking note of signage that alerts you to risks/hazards in the workplace
- Watching out for risks/hazards, and dealing with them if you can, e.g. if you notice a spill or rubbish on the lunch room floor or in a walkway, clean it up
- Advising your Supervisor/WHS Manager of risks/hazards you cannot safely rectify, or are not trained to rectify, e.g. broken-down/malfunctioning equipment, hazardous chemical spills
- Being aware of how people and equipment move within and around your workplace
- Using equipment for the purpose it was intended, e.g. sitting, not swinging, on chairs
- Wearing appropriate clothing and footwear, including PPE where necessary
- Using cordless equipment where possible
- Adopting good housekeeping practices, e.g. keeping your workspace or site tidy, removing items which obstruct walkways, putting rubbish or waste materials in the bin, wiping up spills)
Source: Safe Work Australia: www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/slips-trips-falls