Simply Safe Net
9th June 2016

Slips and trips are most common cause of major injury in UK workplaces

Over 10,000 workers suffered serious injury because of a slip or trip last year. 95% of major slips result in broken bones and they can also be the initial cause for a range of other types of accident such as a fall from height or severe burns.
Every year there are hundreds of major accidents in the catering and hospitality industry caused by slips and trips. The occupations most affected are kitchen assistants, chefs and waiting staff.

Slips and trips – did you know?

  • The cost to society and employers is over £1.3 billion per year. The financial burden to the NHS alone is over £133 million annually;
  • Slips and trips account for 50% of all reported accidents to members of the public who visit places of work;
  • Slips, trips and falls from the same level account for over a third of all reported major injuries, 20% of over-3-day injuries to employees and also 2 fatalities annually.

Case Studies

A young chef was injured following a slip and trip which consequently immersed his left hand into a fryer unit full of hot oil. He sustained severe burns to his arm, parts of his chest and neck. The main cause of the accident was a greasy floor which had not been cleaned correctly. Poor awareness led to cardboard being used in an attempt to soak up the grease, but instead it caused a tripping hazard, which was made worse by the unsuitable footwear.

In similar accident, a 16 year-old employee slipped on water leaking from a broken ice-making machine and flashed fried her arm in deep fat fryer at 360oC. The local authority prosecuted the company and on a successful conviction the magistrates imposed a total fine of £15000.

A female employee spent 11 days in a high-dependency unit when she fractured her skull after slipping in the dishwashing area of the kitchen. Her injuries were so severe she has not been able to return to work since the accident.

Investigation found that four similar incidents had occurred in the same kitchen during the previous 12 months, yet the company had done little to correct an obvious slip hazard. The main cause of the accident was unsuitable flooring. Modification or replacement of the floor surface would have reduced the risk of slipping. In addition, footwear with good slip resistance may have reduced the risk further.

What are the causes of slips and trips in workplace?

Slips and trips occur on wet or dirty floors. Kitchen slips and trips are caused by food spills. Other causes include an overflowing sink dripping onto the floor, flooring with a poor slip resistance and footwear with inadequate grip.

The majority trips in are due to poor housekeeping, especially the careless positioning of food deliveries and cables. Damaged flooring and insufficient lighting also increase the risk of trips in the kitchen.

What must we do to prevent slips and trips?

As an employer, you’re legally obliged to protect your staff from . This means the risk of slips and trips needs to be controlled.

How can I prevent slips and trips in the kitchen?

Prevention is easier, cheaper and begins by conducting suitable and sufficient risk assessment. Once you identified the hazards you can decide on the preventative measures, which include:

  • Select the right footwear! The least slippery footwear usually have urethane and rubber soles.
  • Preventative maintenance will reduce the likelihood of leaks from equipment and trips from uneven flooring;
  • Cleaning the floor regularly will improve its grip and remove other potential slips and trip hazards;
  • Good housekeeping prevents boxes, pans and other obstacles being left on the floor.

What more do you need to know?

The HSE have further information and guidance to help you prevent slips and trips in the catering and hospitality industry. This information can be found on the HSE website.

Slips and Trips are a subject covered on all STS health and safety courses. We also specialise in tailoring our training programmes to environments in which the candidates work. Especially within the catering and hospitality industry.

For more information on implementing a robust health and safety policy, call us today on 01252 728 300


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