Are your Floors Safe or High Risk Areas?
According to statistics from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), slips and trips are the single most common cause of injuries at work, and account for over a third of all major work injuries.
They cost employers over £512 million a year in lost production and other costs and account for over half of all reported injuries to members of the public.
All employers, visitors, members of the public and contractors who are in the workplace are at equal risk. With workplace insurances only able to cover a part of the costs, the costs to employers of legal actions resulting from falls can be considerable.
Due to changes in the litigation law in recent years, solicitors have been offering a ‘no win no fee’ service, which appears (on the surface), to be generating tendency amongst individuals to pursue claims of negligence.
Over 10,000 workers suffered serious injury due to a slip or trip last year. The average claim for an accident where ‘Negligence’ was proven cost the employer £15,000.
But with a little time, thought and common sense, this type of accident could be greatly reduced. As employers and businesses we all have a ‘Duty of care’ towards our employees and others affected by our undertakings while carrying out our business.
There are three pieces of legislation that place a general duty on employers to reduce the risk of accidents to their employees, which includes slips and trips.
Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, which requires the employer to ensure the safety of all who are affected by their work.
Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1992, which emphasise the need for the employer to carry out risk assessments and to have effective control measures in place. It also includes the need for effective planning, control measures, continuous monitoring and a reviewing process that evaluates the measures that have been adopted to reduce the risks.
Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992, which places specific duties on the employer such as, organised traffic routes, where pedestrians operate, suitable flooring for the operation that is carried out to prevent slips, good housekeeping policies and buildings that are easy to clean and maintain.
The floor in a workplace must be suitable for the type of work activity that will be taking place on it. Where a floor can’t be kept dry, people should be able to work on the floor without fear of a slip despite any contamination that may be on it.
Quite simply, if your risk assessment for ‘Slips and Trips’ does not include the HSE recommended guidance a court could argue that your assessment is not deemed to be ‘Suitable and Sufficient’ as stated in legislation, and therefore employers could be liable under the ‘Duty of Care’ principle and therefore negligent.