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Prevent Slips and Trips


Slips and trips are the most common cause of injury in the kitchens. On average they cause 40 percent of all reported major injuries and can also lead to other types of serious accidents.

What can we do to prevent slips and trips?
Follow these basic steps:

  • If you have an accident or a near miss, make sure you report it promptly. This information can be used to prevent future accidents.
  • If you see a spillage, clean it up or make arrangements for it to be cleaned.
  • Report any damaged floors or mats.
  • Keep your workplace tidy.
  • If you see items on the floor where someone could trip over them, remove them or arrange for them to be removed or for the situation to be made safe.
  • If you are given Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), wear it and look after it. Report any faults or damage and make arrangements for a replacement.
  • Report any situation that you think is dangerous, or if you notice that something has gone wrong with health and safety arrangements.

Practical steps to prevent slips and trips accidents
There are many simple ways to control slips and trips risks and prevent accidents:

  • Stop floors becoming contaminated.
  • Use entrance matting.
  • Fix leaks from machinery or buildings.
  • Make sure plant and equipment are maintained.
  • Design tasks to minimise spillages.
  • Plan pedestrian and vehicle routes to avoid contaminated areas.
  • Use the right cleaning methods.
  • Make sure that your cleaning method is effective for the type of floor you have.
  • Don’t introduce more slip or trip risks while cleaning is being done.
  • Leave smooth floors dry after cleaning or exclude pedestrians until the floor is dry.
  • Remove spillages promptly.
  • Have effective arrangements for both routine cleaning and dealing with spills.
  • Use the appropriate detergent mixed at the correct concentration.

Consider the flooring and work environment

  • Check for loose, damaged and worn flooring and replace as needed.
  • Floors likely to get wet or have spillages on them should be of a type that does not become unduly slippery.
  • Make sure lighting is sufficient and that slopes or steps are clearly visible.
  • Keep walkways and work areas clear of obstructions.
  • Get the right footwear.
  • Where floors cannot be kept clean and dry, slip-resistant footwear can help prevent slip accidents.
  • Trial footwear first to make sure it is suitable for the environment and for those who will be wearing it, ie comfort and fit.
  • If footwear is supplied as personal protective equipment (PPE), it must be supplied free of charge to employees.

Think about people and organisational factors

  • Consider how work is organised and managed, eg to avoid rushing, overcrowding, trailing cables.
  • Make sure employees are involved in the decisions that affect them, such as a choice of PPE footwear or a change in cleaning methods.

What does the law say?
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act) requires employers to ensure the health and safety of all employees and anyone who may be affected by their work, so far as is reasonably practicable. This includes taking steps to control slip and trip risks.

Employees have a duty not to put themselves or others in danger, and must use any safety equipment provided.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to assess risks (including slip and trip risks) and, where necessary, take action to address them.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 require floors to be suitable, in good condition and free from obstructions. People should be able to move around safely.

Prevent slips and trips fact sheet. Chart out a kitchen safety map.