Every year around the world, millions of people suffer injuries due to an accident at work – and the majority of these are caused by slips or trips. Of course, statistically speaking, there are differences between the numbers of such accidents reported in developing and developed countries (sadly, adherence to health and safety regulations is not consistent around the world, with many people in poorer countries never reporting accidents).
But what we do know from recent statistics in the UK and Europe is that over a third of major injuries at work reported each year result from slips and trips. In fact, slipping and tripping is by far and away the single most common form of workplace accident – with around 1000 workers or more suffering an injury as a result of this type of mishap.
That’s not just bad news for the victims, it’s a serious blow to employers too. It’s estimated that in the UK alone, the bill for lost production and other associated costs as a result of accidents at work runs into hundreds of millions of pounds – including personal injury claims. And that, even when the claim is entirely justified, is not a situation anyone wants (although finding a reliable personal injury lawyer can help you through it).
Most affected types of job
Closer examination of the figures makes it clear that certain types of workplace are more likely to be the scene of slipping and tripping accidents. And the list is hardly surprising. Construction workers and tradespeople (electricians, joiners, plumbers etc) make up a large number of those affected by this type of accident. Closely followed other groups including catering workers, food factory workers, food retail workers and site managers.
So, what’s the answer? Well, in the UK and many other countries there are official Health & Safety guidelines in place which, if followed properly, should theoretically reduce the incidence of slips, trips and falls in the workplace. But life isn’t perfect, and without constant vigilance on the part of individuals – both employers and employees – there’s every likelihood that the alarming statistics noted above will continue to grow.
Preventing slips, trips and falls
Taking preventative action before slips, trips and falls occur is the first port of call. And that means considering and anticipating every possible eventuality in different workplace environments – whether there’s an obvious health and safety threat or not.
Because the sad fact is, many people believe that things like wet and slippery floors or uneven surfaces cause slips, trips and falls. The reality is, even a dry, even surface can be a hazard, especially if obstructions are left lying around or proper footwear isn’t worn.
The full list of recommended checks and measures to be put in place to prevent slip, trip and fall accidents can be found on various dedicated websites such as the Health and Safety Executive’s official site. But for now, the advice can be simply summarized.
Stay alert and prepared. If you do suffer an injury, make sure it’s investigated and reported (particularly if you think you have a personal injury claim).