Some of the most common injuries in the workplace result from slips or falls. According to figures stated by the HSE, more than 40% of all reported major injuries occur from working slipping or tripping over.
While all employers must ensure the health and safety of their employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act etc. 1974, accidents still can occur and there are precautions each of us must take to ensure ourselves and those around us are as safe as possible throughout the working day.
So what can you do to give yourself greater protection against a slip or fall?
- Keep your work area clear: Particularly in busy work places, one of the main causes of falls and the resulting ankle injuries come from people tripping over objects on the floor that they just didn’t know were there. While this is dangerous for any individual, for those working in roles which require them to operate or carry heavy or sharp items, the potential risk of severe injury is substantially increased. Before carrying out any work, a risk assessment should be carried out to make sure that your work area is completely clear of any items on the floor which could catch you and your colleagues unaware. This should then be repeated at multiple intervals throughout the day.
- Wear the correct footwear: A large number of falls, slips or general ankle injuries that occur in the workplace come from members of staff not wearing the correct footwear. Depending on your field of work, it’s important to wear the appropriate footwear for your industry. However, as a general rule, you should always avoid wearing footwear which has high heels and poor grip on the sole. You should look for shoes or boots which provide you with good support around the ankle, a slip resistant sole and are securely fastened to prevent them coming loose throughout the day. If you are working in an industrial setting or one which requires you to lift heavy items, your footwear should also incorporate properties that will protect you from falling objects. In these instances, steeltoe work boots and composite boots are going to be the best footwear options.
- Clean up spillages promptly and correctly: Many jobs will see workers frequently moving indoors and out which, when combined with oil and other substances, can lead to very slippy and dangerous work areas. Whenever a spillage occurs, it should be cleaned up as soon as possible with the appropriate signage placed around the area of the spillage. This will help worn other workers and greatly reduce the potential of a fall occurring.
- Report any incidents: If a slip or fall does occur within the workplace all incidents should be reported to a health and safety official or senior members of staff in order for a full examination of the incident to be carried out. This will look to determine that caused the fall and what measures can be put in place to prevent any repeats in the future. Even if the fall didn't result in any form of painful injury, it's still important to let the appropriate members of staff know as the next person who has a similar accident may not be so lucky.