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Slips and trips

Slips and trips


Slips and trips account for a large number of workplace injuries each year. Those injured also include members of the public. Everyone at work can help reduce slip and trip hazards. Solutions are often simple and cheap.

What law applies?

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
  • The Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000
  • The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
  • The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1993

Assessing slip and trip risks

Carry out The 5-step approach to risk assessments, paying close attention to anything that could cause slips and trips. You should take into account not just your employees, but those who may be affected by their work, such as visitors and members of the public.

Reducing risk

When you've identified the risks, consider ways to remove or reduce them as much as possible. Below is an example of hazards you might find, and the suggested actions.

HazardSuggested action

Wet and dry substances spills

Clean up immediately. If a liquid is greasy, make sure a suitable cleaning agent is used. After cleaning, the floor can be wet for some time so dry it where possible. Use appropriate barriers to tell people the floor is still wet and arrange other pathways.

If cleaning is done once a day, it may be possible to do it last thing at night so it's dry for the start of the next shift.

Trailing cables

Avoid putting cables across pathways. Use cable covers to securely fix cables to surfaces and restrict access to prevent contact. Consider using cordless tools. Remember that you'll also need to manage contractors.

Miscellaneous rubbish

Keep areas clear, remove rubbish and don't let it build up.


Ensure mats are securely fixed and don't have curling edges.

Poor lighting

Improve the levels and placing of lights to ensure more even lighting of all floor areas.

Slippery surfaces

Assess the cause and treat accordingly. For example, always keep them dry if wet causes the problem. In certain situations, you may have to treat them chemically.

Change from wet to dry floor surface

Give employees suitable footwear. Warn of risks by using signs. Use doormats where these changes are likely.

Changes of level

Try to avoid this wherever possible. If you can't, improve lighting, or add visible signs or floor markings, such as white/reflective edges to steps.


Improve visibility. Provide handrails and/or use floor markings.

Smoke/steam obscuring view

Eliminate or control by redirecting it away from risk areas. Improve ventilation. Provide suitable warning signs.

Unsuitable footwear

Ensure employees choose suitable footwear, particularly with the correct type of sole. If the type of work requires special protective footwear, you must provide it for free.

Responsible people

You should involve employees in helping to reduce risks:

  • Make people (e.g. supervisors) responsible for certain areas or tasks, e.g. cleaning spillages quickly, keeping access routes clear or ensuring lighting is maintained.
  • Keep a record of who is responsible for which arrangements and hand it out to all relevant employees.

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