1 Preventing slips, trips and falls at work. Use this checklist to manage the risk of slips, trips and falls in your workplace Workplace: Location: Date of assessment: Assessment completed by: Work area management representative: Work area health and safety representative (HSR): Others (workers, consultants): How to use this checklist: This checklist is designed to help employers meet their legal obligations to manage risks associated with slips, trips and falls. Follow the checklist to: assess the risks associated with slips, trips and falls (under two metres) list possible solutions implement those solutions. When assessing the tasks and introducing risk controls consult with HSRs and where possible, involve the workers who do the tasks. Control any risk This checklist provides general guidelines only. It is important to control any risk you find. In addition, arrange for regular workplace inspections, paying particular attention to: floors, stairs and lighting housekeeping (general cleanliness and cleaning methods) variations in conditions, according to time of day and year, such as rain, cloudy days or night/day personal protective equipment. Keep a copy for your records You should retain a copy of this document if it shows a risk of injury.
2 SLIPS SLIPS Common hazards Yes Comments (eg when and where is it happening?) Are floor surfaces inappropriate? deep carpeted areas in high-use trolley areas surfaces that become slippery when wet expanded mesh flooring or steps (increased risk to people wearing heels). See the end of this checklist for more information on flooring characteristics and surface treatments to improve slip resistance. Are areas prone to liquid on the floor? rainwater, mud near external doors kitchen (particularly around sinks, fat fryers, urns) areas where liquids are handled toilets wet floors from cleaning during work hours. Install floor surfaces to reduce risks caused by water, grease or dust. Generally, textured floor surfaces are recommended. Have an effective cleaning and maintenance program with warning signs and procedures for managing immediate risks. Clean floors outside working hours. If not practical, introduce a system to ensure people do not walk on surfaces until they are dry. Use slip-resistant products on stair treads, ramps and other hazardous walking or working surfaces. Put anti-slip mats at entrances. Are there spills on floors? meals areas around oil reservoirs ingredients or chemical granules machinery spills or metal shavings inadequately cleaned or maintained floors spilled product oil stains in undercover car parks. Examine the production process to eliminate leaks. Use drip pans and guards where possible spills might occur. When machinery spills occur, follow clean-up procedures as detailed in the MSDS. Install exhaust systems to remove dust or vapours to prevent settling on floors. Have a system in place to change oil from fat fryers. Regularly clean and maintain floor and outdoor surfaces. Is drainage inadequate in wet areas? toilets and shower rooms kitchens. Install suitable drainage. Are there sudden changes in floor surfaces? carpeted showroom to polished timber storeroom sheet vinyl counter to tiled kitchen concrete workshop to terrazzo office loose, granular, outdoor ground surfaces to steel decking. Choose floor surfaces that ensure non-slip conditions when people move from one floor surface to another. Treat floor surfaces to make slip resistance of both surfaces similar. Ensure efficient drainage of outdoor ground surfaces.
3 SLIPS SLIPS Common hazards (continued) Yes Comments (eg when and where is it happening?) Is there any growth over floor surfaces? moss on external pathways mould on bathroom or laundry floors. Regularly clean and maintain floors and outdoor surfaces. Keep outdoor surfaces free of leaves, mud, clippings, paper and gravel and remove moss or slime. Slips Footwear Yes Comments (eg when and where is it happening?) Are there areas where footwear is used for a specific task or to prevent slips? safety gumboots in meat processing area steel capped safety shoes in storeroom. Ensure suitable footwear is chosen check supplier s and manufacturer s specifications for selection of footwear for different surfaces and risk factors (refer to AS 2210 Safety footwear). Are there areas where footwear is inappropriate for the task? high heel shoes worn on step-ladders (eg accessing stock in shops) leather-soled shoes in a freezer. Ensure suitable footwear is worn appropriate to the task. Slips Ramps Yes Comments (eg when and where is it happening?) Are steep ramps used by workers? The ramp gradient must be no more than 1:8 For more detailed information, refer to AS1657:1992 Fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders. Do any ramps present a slip hazard? smooth, steel loading dock slippery timber ramp painted concrete surfaces. Ensure ramps are made slip resistant with foot grips or a textured surface. Are hand trolleys used on ramps? Ensure workers are aware that pushing or pulling a trolley can increase the risk of slipping. Provide handrails and midrails, as well as kick rails (at least 100mm high) on both sides to prevent trolleys running off the edge.
4 TRIPS TRIPS Common hazards Yes Comments (eg when and where is it happening?) Are internal floors damaged? broken tiles, worn floor coverings uneven floor surfaces poorly maintained access routes. Regularly review and maintain uneven, damaged floor surfaces. Is external access poor? uneven or loose paving poorly maintained footpaths and garden edges. Regularly review and maintain external access areas. Is equipment stored in aisles and walkways? cleaning equipment in storeroom aisles trolleys kept in front of back door. Provide a dedicated storage area for cleaning goods. Designate a safe storage area for trolleys and equipment. Are goods stored in aisles and walkways? stock placed in storeroom aisles stock placed in front of exit doors. Provide adequate storage racks. Designate an area for storage of inward goods that does not block walkways. Ensure aisles or passageways remain uncluttered at all times. Are personal items stored around workstations? handbag or gym bags placed on floor under desk. Provide locker for storage of personal items. Are there low obstacles where workers walk? empty pallets angle iron, coach bolts or other items protruding from floor extension cords. Check for, remove or establish barriers around low obstacles. Are there untidy work areas? workshop with tools, waste or materials on floor storeroom with raw materials, rubbish left lying around bakery with poor cleaning routines, such as sweeping flour off benches onto floor. Ensure appropriate cleaning procedures are in place, such as collecting flour waste from bench directly into rubbish bin.
5 TRIPS TRIPS Common hazards (continued) Yes Comments (eg when and where is it happening?) Can clothing get caught on objects or surfaces? Ensure items that may catch clothing are removed from aisles and passageways, or guarded. Do loading docks pose a risk? height difference between loading dock and floor of truck gap between loading dock and truck slippery and uneven metal dock plates. Ensure dock levellers or bridge plates are used when transferring materials between dock and truck. Ensure metal dock plates have grip surfaces to prevent slipping and that the edges of dock plates are smooth and have no sag. Does unsuitable matting create a risk? flattened cardboard cartons used as floor matting mats with turned up edges unsecured mats at entrances loose floor mats. Rubber-like mats are long wearing, slip resistant on the top and bottom sides. Ensure slip resistant door mats at entrances are secured or large enough to remain in place. TRIPS Steps and stairs Yes Comments (eg when and where is it happening?) Are there steep or slippery steps and stairs? Use a non-slip bull nose finish on steep or slippery steps and stairs. Ensure stairways that are too steep are only used for secondary access and have sturdy handrails on both sides. Are there inappropriately designed steps and stairs? stairs with inadequate foot space steps of varying height steps with excessive radius on nosing. Ensure stairs have adequate foot space, even step dimensions and suitable radius on nosing. Are workers at risk from falling into or out of vehicles? truck cabin forklift ride-on mowers mobile cleaning equipment. Ensure steps and hand grips are provided in the cabin so there are three points of contact for hands and feet at all times. Ensure steps are non-slip and have adequate foot space. Ensure hand grips allow people to use a power grip. Are there steps and stairs with poor lighting? nosing is poorly defined. Paint a bright strip (highlight) on nosing where lighting is inadequate. Increase lighting in areas where there are stairs and steps.
6 TRIPS TRIPS Steps and stairs (continued) Yes Comments (eg when and where is it happening?) Are there small landings (or no landing) where doors open onto stairs? Provide a landing with sufficient space for the door to fully open without striking anyone. Are there isolated low steps (commonly at doorways)? at cold room entrances speed humps where people walk at loading docks. Eliminate isolated low steps if practicable. Ensure isolated low steps are highlighted. Do steps have a sturdy handrail or guard rail? Ensure there are sturdy handrails or guard rails on all platforms, steps or stairs. Are workers at risk from carrying loads on stairs? carrying a load where they can t grip a handrail to prevent a fall carrying a large load where they can t see the steps beyond the load. Where possible, loads should not be carried by hand on the stairs. If this is not possible, ensure the load is small and light enough to carry in one hand to the side of the body. Are workers at risk from moving trolleys or large objects down stairs? using trolleys with handles that are too short and contribute to extreme postures moving large objects that prevent people seeing the steps using high force to move heavy objects on narrow or smooth treads. Use lifts where possible. Use only stair-climbing trolleys on stairs. Provide ramps.
7 TRIPS TRIPS Traffic management Yes Comments (eg when and where is it happening?) Are workers exposed to risks in aisles or walkways near mobile plant, machinery, welding operations or loading docks? Install barriers to separate pedestrians from mobile plant and vehicles. Ensure permanent aisles, passageways and emergency exits are appropriately marked and clear. Ensure there is safe clearance for walking in aisles where powered mechanical handling equipment is used. Is there insufficient headroom in aisles or walkways? Ensure there is sufficient headroom for the entire length of any aisle or walkway. Do grates or covers over floor openings create slipping or tripping hazards? missing or damaged grate or covers grates or covers that are not continuous with floor surface or that are smooth or slippery. Maintain damaged grates or covers. Ensure floor grates or covers over openings such as drains do not require workers to alter their walking pattern to step over them. Treat the surface of grates or covers to improve slip resistance.
8 FALLS FALLS Common hazards Yes Comments (eg when and where is it happening?) Are workers required to use inappropriate step-stools? broken chairs overturned milk or other crates. Use a safety step to gain access to items at head or shoulder height. Are any unsuitable chairs or seats used? damaged chairs or seats chairs with standard castors on vinyl floors high stools without foot ring or place to support feet unstable high stools or high chairs office chairs with less than five-point base. Remove damaged chairs from workplace and replace or fix them. Ensure only chairs with glides or castors with brakes are used on smooth, hard surfaces such as concrete, timber or vinyl. Ensure chairs with standard castors are only used on carpeted surfaces. Ensure adjustable chairs with a five-star base are used for tasks that require prolonged keyboard work. Ensure high stools are fitted with foot ring. Are workers required to jump or step down to lower levels? Ensure appropriate ladder, steps or stairs are used to climb or move down levels. FALLS Ladders Yes Comments (eg when and where is it happening?) Is stock, materials or displays stored or stacked to a height where ladders or steps are required? Ensure stock, materials or displays are not stacked above shoulder height. Are unstable or inappropriate ladders/steps used? chair used as ladder straight ladder used on smooth surfaces straight ladder used to get stock from racking. Ensure ladders and steps are stable or secured when in use. Ensure ladder or steps are well maintained with non-slip feet and treads in good condition. Use platform ladder or order-picking forklift to manually get stock from racking. Is a ladder used as a work platform? to pick items from racking to put away items into storage. Ensure ladders are used correctly ladders are designed to provide access to a work area; they are not designed to enable a worker to perform work while standing on a ladder rung. Bending, twisting, reaching, lifting, pushing or pulling while standing on a ladder is hazardous and should be performed on a work platform. Ensure no items are carried by a person while on a ladder. Ensure small items are suspended in a tool belt, not held onto. Place large items into storage using a forklift or other mechanical lifting device. Are ladders or steps used incorrectly? reaching too far to either side standing on the top rung of a ladder used on uneven floor surfaces rung ladder used without being secured, or at too shallow or too steep an angle. Ensure ladders or steps are used correctly a person s belt buckle should never extend beyond the side rails. The top three rungs of a straight ladder or the top two steps of a step ladder should not be used for the feet. Ensure the tops of ladders are tied to a secure structure. Ensure ladders or steps are not stabilised with makeshift materials to even up floor surfaces.
9 ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS Yes Comments (eg when and where is it happening?) Are there poorly lit work areas and walkways? Use lighting levels of approx lux for general areas such as loading bays and areas requiring intermittent use (refer to AS Interior and workplace lighting). Do sudden changes in lighting levels occur between areas? between outdoors and a dimly lit stairwell between outdoors and loading bay. Provide graduated lighting between areas. Ensure vehicles stop and drivers acclimatise before entering an area where there are pedestrians. Ensure pedestrians cannot enter areas of vehicle traffic if they have not acclimatised to the lighting levels. Is there lighting that is badly directed? lighting throwing distracting shadows on steps, stairs, walking surfaces lighting that can make it difficult to see pedestrians or mobile equipment operators. Direct lighting so that does it not throw distracting shadows on steps, stairs or other walking surfaces. Ensure lighting is not directed so that it makes it difficult for pedestrians and mobile equipment operators to see. Do environmental factors affect workers? working in cold room or freezer working in wet conditions in plant nursery working in humid conditions in smoke house. Check workers are not exposed to environmental factors that may affect their behaviour or performance eg heat, cold, chemicals or electricity. If you found any risk of an injury due to slip, trip or fall, you must control it.
10 IMPLEMENTING RISK CONTROLS Any risk of a slip, trip or fall must be eliminated or controlled as far as practicable. IMPLEMENTING RISK CONTROLS Location: Date prepared: Persons considering controls Work area management rep: Work area HSR: Others (workers, consultants): Timetable to fix problems Short-term (immediately to within a few weeks) Action required Person responsible Medium-term (within a few weeks to a couple of months) Action required Person responsible Completion date Completion date Reviewed date Reviewed date Action completed Action completed
11 Table 1 Flooring characteristics and typical applications Floor type Characteristics Typical application Concrete Terrazzo Quarry tiles and ceramic tiles Glazed ceramic tiles Vinyl tiles and sheet Cork Timber Steel plate Rubber Plastic matting Carpet Fibreglass grating Rounded aggregate can be slippery when concrete wears. Interior surface is often sealed to prevent dusting and absorption of liquids but this can increase slipperiness. Gives good appearance and wears well, but can be slippery when wet, excess polish is used or dusty. Low water absorption and good resistance to chemicals. Slippery in wet conditions if smooth, but can be moulded with aggregate or profiles to improve slip resistance. Special cleaning equipment like high-pressure water spray may be needed as a build-up of grease or dirt can make these tiles ineffective. Slippery when wet, particularly with soapy water. Some slip resistance treatments available, but preferable not to install these products on floors. Easy to clean. Use sheet form, where washing is required to avoid water getting tiles. Slippery when wet, particularly if polished, however slip resistance vinyl with aggregates moulded in, is available. Must be sealed to prevent absorption of oil and water, but likely to be slippery when wet. Needs to be sealed to prevent absorption of oil and water. Can be slippery when wet if highly glossed or polished. Tends to be slippery when wet or oily, particularly when worn. Less effective in wet conditions. Must be fixed down well at the edges and joins or will cause a tripping hazard. Interlocking PVC extrusions gives good drainage and slip resistance. Hose down or steam clean. Carpet has shorter life than a hard floor surface but it can be a cost effective solution in many cases. Installation should be wall-to-wall to avoid the hazard of tripping on edges. When used in small local areas, such as entrances it should be installed in a recess in the floor. This product can have grit particles moulded into upper surface to provide very good slip resistance. Fluids are very quickly drained away. External pathways, factory and warehouse floors. Slip resistance depends on finish and wear. Use angular aggregate for pathways. Office building foyers and pedestrian areas in shopping centres. Lay in place in panels separated by metal strips. Suitable for kitchens where hot spills might occur, shower rooms, toilet and similar. Needs frequent cleaning. Bathrooms and toilets. Light industrial environments, corridors, hospital wards. Not suitable where hot spills are likely. Light industry, small kitchens, lecture rooms, standing mats. Softer than vinyl. Meeting halls, gymnasiums, older factories and offices. Factory areas with very heavy traffic, or to span openings in floors. Usually with a raised pattern (for example chequer plate) which provides some slip resistance. Ramps and areas requiring extra slip resistance, stair treads. Usually with round stud pattern. Bathrooms, standing mats. Corridors, offices and areas where quietness is a high priority and spills unlikely. However, carpets of synthetic materials may be used in entrance areas (to absorb water and dirt), exterior areas and bathrooms. Factory areas where fluids are unavoidable and overhead platforms and walkways.
12 Table 2 Floor Treatments To increase slip resistance, floors need to have greater friction or adhesion. Slip resistant footwear is one strategy, treating the floor is another. If an existing floor is a problem and it s too expensive to install new flooring, it is possible to apply a floor treatment. The cost of treatment varies considerably and it is a good idea to do a cost analysis, particularly if the treatment does not significantly improve the quality of the floor. Successful treatments are those that substantially increase the surface roughness of the flooring, though the surface may not look as attractive and cleaning methods may need to be changed. For wet conditions, continue the flooring material or treatment up the walls to at least 75mm. The continuation between the floor and the wall should be rounded to prevent fluids getting under the edges. This will reduce cleaning and drying time. Make sure that sheet flooring, such as vinyl, is welded to prevent water seeping through and to allow more thorough cleaning. Mild etch Applicable to ceramic tiles, granite, terrazzo, clay pavers and vinyl. They may increase slip resistance but the tile may still be too slippery, particularly for soapy water. Strong acid etches Applicable to concrete. Should make it suitable for slip resistance with water, but not with oil. Adhesive strips Abrasive blasting Grinding Grinding with diamond saw Coatings Applicable to all flooring: Mineral-coated adhesive strips are useful for localised slip hazards such as stair treads and ramps. However, they wear quickly and should be considered as a temporary solution or receive regular replacement. Applicable to concrete, ceramic tiles, granite, marble, terrazzo, clay pavers and steel plate. Oil can still make the surface slippery. Applicable to concrete, ceramic tiles, granite, marble, terrazzo and clay pavers. This treatment can give a rougher surface, so it could be used to give slip resistance under oily conditions. Applicable to concrete, ceramic tiles, granite, marble, terrazzo and clay pavers. For example, grooves 2-3 mm deep, spaced at 7-10mm would give slip resistance under oily conditions. Loss of the sealed surface could lead to staining. Applicable to concrete, clay pavers, steel plate and timber. A range of base materials is used, including acrylics, flexible polymers, polyester resin, vinyl ester resin and epoxy resin. For the best slip resistance, the coatings will include some aggregate such as rubber particles, silica sands, and silicon carbide granules. These treatments can be tailored to the application, depending on the level of chemical, traffic or slip resistance needed. With the right aggregate, slip resistance under oily conditions is quite feasible. Acknowledgement Information on floor treatments and flooring characteristics and typical applications re-produced from Comcare s Guide to preventing slips, trips and falls.
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