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Identify the Risks - Slips and Falls

Slips

A slip occurs when there is too little friction between the footwear and the walking surface. Some common causes of slips are:

  • Wet walking surfaces
  • Oil, flour or other slippery material on the floor
  • Highly polished floors or smooth floor coatings
  • Footwear with soles that are not appropriate for the walking surface
  • Un-anchored rugs, mats or loose materials

Trips

A trip occurs when a person’s foot contacts an object or drops to a lower level unexpectedly and they are thrown off balance. Some common causes of tripping include:

  • Cords, hoses, equipment or materials left in aisles, walk ways or around work sites
  • Trailing or undone laces on footwear
  • Poor lighting or definition when changing surface heights
  • Threshold, ramp, stairs or ladder
  • When the view forward is obstructed by materials the person is carrying
  • Uneven or damaged walking surfaces
  • Materials and tools left in the walk areas

Hazard Suggested action
Spillage of wet and dry substances Clean spills up immediately. If a liquid is greasy, ensure a suitable cleaning agent is used. After cleaning, the floor may be wet for some time. Use appropriate signs to tell people the floor is still wet and arrange alternative bypass routes.
Trailing cables Position equipment to avoid cables crossing pedestrian routes. Use cable covers to securely fix to surfaces, restrict access to prevent contact.
Miscellaneous rubbish, for example plastic bags Keep areas clear, remove rubbish, and do not allow to build up.
Rugs / Mats Ensure mats are securely fixed and do not have curling edges.
Slippery surfaces Assess the cause and treat accordingly, for example treat chemically, appropriate cleaning method etc. Consider introducing shoe programme and purchase only slip resistant footwear.
Poor lighting ­­Improve lighting levels and placement of light fittings to ensure more even lighting of all floor areas.
Changes of level Improve lighting, add apparent tread nosings.
Slopes Improve visibility, provide handrails, and use floor markings.
Smoke / Steam obscuring view Eliminate or control by redirecting it away from risk areas; improve ventilation and warn of it.
Unsuitable footwear Ensure workers choose suitable footwear, particularly with the correct type of outsole. SOLEMATE© supplies Shoes for Crews®, manufacturer of the most advanced slip resistant outsole available in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and America.