Winter Risk Management: Slips & Trips Accidents

Winter Risk Management: Impact on Buildings
January 20, 2020

With the recent spell of heavy rain, flooding & strong winds due to storm Ciara, and the subsequent hail, sleet and snow in many areas of the country, there is no better time to share Aviva’s top tips for avoiding slips, trips & falls – the single-largest cause of accidents in both public areas and workplaces.

As a business, you should assess the risk of slips and trips, to ensure the safety of employees, visitors & contractors both inside and outside your business’s premises. After all, injuries from slips, trips and falls not only affect the individuals involved, but can also mean losses for your business through customer or employee claims, staff absence and bad publicity.

 

Key hazards to consider and review as the workplace and processes change

  • uneven steps or steps which are not uniform in dimension
  • poor lighting
  • changes in floor level, slopes
  • unsuitable flooring
  • inappropriate footwear
  • trailing pipes and cables
  • damaged floor surfaces, both internal and external
  • poor housekeeping
  • vulnerable users.

 

Risk assessment helps you understand what sensible precautions are required to control the hazards in your workplace, such as

  • identifying areas of highest footfall and high risk areas such as wet leisure areas, changing rooms, poolside, outside spaces, etc.
  • specifying the appropriate type of flooring for the environment, usage and footfall
  • implementing an effective cleaning regime and inspection system
  • having procedures for attending to spillages and contamination
  • implementing procedures for inclement weather
  • using doormats to stop rain water being tracked in and making the floor slippery.

 

Practical steps to prevent slips and trips accidents

  • HSE estimates that 50% of all trip hazards result from poor housekeeping: without good housekeeping practices, any other preventative measures will never be fully effective.
  • Stop floors becoming contaminated: use entrance matting, fix any leaks in the building, plan pedestrian routes to avoid risk areas
  • Use the correct cleaning method for the type of floor: do not introduce more risks when cleaning, and have effective arrangements for both routine cleaning & dealing with spills
  • Consider the flooring & work environment: check for loose, damaged flooring & replace as needed; make sure lighting is sufficient, slopes/steps are visible, and walkways are clear of obstructions
  • Use the correct footwear: slip resistant footwear can help prevent slip accidents and must be supplied to employees free of charge if used as personal protective equipment (PPE).

Organisations often enquire about the extent to which they might be held liable for an accident which results from a trip on an uneven surface. There is no safe limit and no hard rule for when a defect could become a claim. Every claim for compensation will be decided on its own circumstances – that’s why the keeping of records (flooring specification, risk assessment, inspections and maintenance) and most importantly, of cleaning procedures, may prove decisive in defending compensation claims.

If you have any questions on this topic, would like a quotation for Public Liability or Employers Liability insurance for your business, or want to discuss your existing insurance arrangements, please call us on 049-4332944, e-mail info@martininsurance.ie or complete our online enquiry form.

Disclaimer: The material contained is this article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.

James Martin
James Martin
James Martin has 16 years of experience as a general insurance broker. He is a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute and has completed a Diploma in Corporate Finance.

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