Fylde Council - Health & Safety Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls

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1 Fylde Council - Health & Safety Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls GUIDANCE NOTE: Introduction Slips and trips are the most common of workplace hazards and make up over a third of all major injuries. In one year, over 10,000 UK workers suffered serious injury as a result of a slip or trip. Slips and trips account for 50% of all of the reported accidents to members of the public that happen in workplaces. This guidance is aimed at all Council employees who work in or around Council buildings. Why do we need this guidance? We care about the health, safety and wellbeing of all our employees. We care about the health, safety and wellbeing of clients, contractors and visitors to our premises. It will help the Council to limit slips and trips incidents and the adverse costs involved. What are some of the barriers to preventing slips, trips and falls? People not taking the risks seriously. Little understanding of the causes of slipping. Thinking that slips and trips are inevitable. Poor application of risk assessment and management controls. What are slips, trips and falls? A slip occurs when there is too little traction or friction between the shoe and walking surface. A trip occurs when a person s foot contacts an object in their way or drops to a lower level unexpectedly, causing them to be thrown off-balance. A fall occurs when you are too far off balance. What are some of the common causes of slips, trips and falls? Uneven floor surfaces Unsuitable floor coverings Unsuitable cleaning regimes Unsuitable footwear Debris on floor Wet floors Changes in levels Trailing cables Poor lighting Poor housekeeping What type of injuries result from a slip, trip or fall? At best the only result from an incident will just be injured pride. However, the type of injury that an individual can receive can range from a bruise to broken limbs. These injuries can take a great deal of time to recover from, and for some people they may suffer the consequences of the incident for the rest of their lives. How do you reduce the likelihood of injury from slips, trips and falls? To help control slips, trips and falls you must ensure that you have considered the risks in your activity based risk assessment and that you implement any identified controls. When conducting a Version No. 1 Page 1 of 11 Version Date December 2010

2 Fylde Council - Health & Safety Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls risk assessment there is a recognised hierarchy of control for the preventions of slips, trip and falls Prevent/Avoid Contamination of Floors Control Contamination of floors Eliminate Adverse Environmental Conditions Improve Floor Conditions Implement Footwear Controls 1. Prevent/Avoid contamination getting on the floor floors often become slippery once they become contaminated. Avoid contamination and you will eliminate or significantly reduce any risks from slips, trips and falls. Contamination invariably results from a work activity or adverse weather. Consider:- Canopies over entrances and mats for feet in order to prevent the spread of rainwater etc. Providing trays for carrying drinks and food and lids for cups and containers. Using drip trays for any leaking equipment or processes Changing the system of work If you cannot prevent or avoid the floor becoming contaminated, then you must ensure that you have an effective cleaning regime in place to remove any contamination before it becomes a slip, trip or fall hazard. 2. Control contamination of floors Review your activity based risk assessments and safe systems of work to ensure you have procedures in place for:- Suitable and timely cleaning regimes ensure the correct methods are used for cleaning floors. Manufacturers of floors and coverings will provide information for the correct method of cleaning their products. Whilst a highly polished corridor floor may look good it is likely to become extremely slippery when wet. A spillage cleaning regime communicated to all staff / clients can have immediate effects. If you drop it - pick it up. If you spill it - wipe it up. Look where you are going and go where you are looking. Ensuring appropriate equipment is available at all times for the cleaning of spillages, including appropriate wet floor signage if required and that staff know where it is. Ensuring housekeeping standards are maintained, for example staff / clients clean up after themselves and that they are using the bins and other equipment provided for housekeeping. 3. Eliminate adverse environmental conditions Consider items such as: Lighting appropriate lighting for each area, not too bright or too dim and not casting shadows, so that any slip, trip and fall hazards that may exist are visible. Rainwater even a small amount of water can turn an ordinarily safe floor into a skating rink. It is imperative that rainwater entering on feet is not transferred throughout the floors of the building. This is best done with the use of canopies over external entrances and appropriate and adequate matting on the floor of the entrance. These mats may need regular cleaning or drying to maintain their effectiveness. Version No. 1 Page 2 of 11 Version Date December 2010

3 Fylde Council - Health & Safety Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls 4. Improve floor conditions The floor of any workplace must be suitable for the type of work activities being carried out. Consider:- Are employees expected to carry or pull loads over uneven or sloping surfaces? Is the floor surface correctly fitted and maintained? Are lifts available for employees to transport loads instead of using staircases when they may not have the ability to hold on to the hand-rail? Can roughness or friction of the floor be improved the correct cleaning regime will ensure that the floor has the surface it was designed to have. In some instances a resin and grit coating can be applied to a surface to increase its roughness. Replace the floor When any refurbishment work is being carried out consideration should be given to improving the floor covering where necessary. Should an area have a change of use it may be necessary to change the floor covering. Suitable walkways should be provided i.e. space between equipment, machines or desks sufficient for staff to walk through even when they are likely to be carrying items. It is not enough to just have walkways in place they should be monitored to ensure they are free from obstructions and contamination that could cause accidents. Walkways must be segregated from any internal transport routes i.e. fork lift trucks routes etc. 5. Footwear Footwear should always be appropriate for the work activities to be carried out. For example, high heel, open toe sandals are probably not the most appropriate footwear for manual handling activities. However it is not always possible to control the footwear worn, by for instance, clients or contractors. Where footwear cannot be controlled it is vitally important to ensure that floors are kept clean and dry. A Sensible Footwear policy can help to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls significantly. Sensible footwear should be flat, maximising sole/floor contact and friction. It is worth noting that anti-slip footwear forms part of PPE and as such should be considered a last resort if the risk cannot be otherwise avoided. Not all safety footwear is slip resistant, if the shoe is being sold as slip resistant the manufacturer must prove its performance. What about seasonal factors and the increased risk of slips, trips and falls? Slip and trip accidents can increase during certain seasons, for example, autumn leaves and reduced daylight hours can increase the risk of slips. It is therefore important that you incorporate seasonal factors into your risk assessment. What should you consider in the risk assessment process to reduce the likelihood of slip and trip accidents during the winter months? Winter lighting - Is there enough lighting around the workplace that enables employees and clients to see and avoid hazards that might be on the ground? The easiest way to find out is to ask your staff. Another way is to walk the main internal and external routes of the workplace at different times throughout the day. Wet and decaying leaves - Fallen leaves that become wet or have started to decay can create slip risks in two ways, they hide any hazard that may be on the path or they themselves create a slip risk. Put in place a procedure for removing leaves at regular intervals; you might even consider removing the offending bushes or trees altogether. Rain water when dealing with rain water, consider the following:- When fitting external paved areas ensure that the material used is slip resistant when wet. Discourage people from taking shortcuts over grass or dirt as they are likely to become slippery when wet. Version No. 1 Page 3 of 11 Version Date December 2010

4 Fylde Council - Health & Safety Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls Ice, frost and snow 1. Identify the outdoor areas used by pedestrians most likely to be affected by ice, for example: - entrances, car parks, pedestrian walkways, shortcuts, sloped areas and areas constantly in the shade or wet. 2. Ensure any leaking pipes or blocked drains are repaired to prevent the build up of water which can then freeze. 3. Monitor temperatures, as you need to take action whenever freezing temperatures are forecast. Keep up to date by visiting a weather forecast web site or other news media. 4. Put a simple procedure in place to prevent an icy surface forming and/or keep pedestrians off the slippery surface e.g. Use grit on areas prone to be slippery in frosty, icy conditions. Divert pedestrians to less slippery walkways and barrier off existing ones. If warning cones are used, remember to remove them once the hazard has passed or they will eventually be ignored Gritting the pros and cons The most common method used to de-ice floors is gritting as it is relatively cheap, quick to apply, easy to spread and small amounts can be effective. Rock salt is the most commonly used grit. Salt can stop ice forming and cause existing ice or snow to melt. Gritting should be carried out when frost, ice or snow is forecast or when walkways are likely to be damp or wet and the floor temperatures are at, or below freezing. The best times are early in evening before the frost settles and/or early in the morning before employees arrive. Salt doesn t work instantly; it needs sufficient time to dissolve into the moisture on the floor. If you grit when it is raining heavily the salt will be washed away, causing a problem if the rain then turns to snow. Compacted snow, which turns to ice, is difficult to treat effectively with grit. Be aware that dawn frost can occur on dry surfaces, when early morning dew forms and freezes on impact with the cold surface. It can be difficult to predict when or where this condition will occur. What do you need to do next? It is essential when completing your activity risk assessments that hazards which contribute to slips, trips and falls are considered. These hazards are numerous and may be specific to your work area, Appendix 1 is an example risk assessment which has been specifically designed to focus on the various hazards involved in the activity of clearing snow and ice, and to give examples of suitable control measures. Once the activity risk assessment has been developed it may become necessary to develop a Safe System of Work, appendix 2 shows an example of a Safe System of Work to clear up unknown spills. Following a slip / trip / fall accident / incident what do you do next? After ensuring appropriate treatment is provided for the affected person, you should make sure the area is safe. Clean up and/or place barriers or signage around the area. An accident form should be completed by the injured person, and then the incident should be investigated following the procedures in the Accident Investigation arrangements, ensuring that all relevant information is recorded. Appendix 3 is an example of how the same incident can be investigated, and how the Section B of the Accident Form can be completed dependant on the circumstances of the incident. Where can you find additional information? The Council issue relevant managers with an Occupational Health and Safety Manual, the content of which is compiled to assist managers in meeting their health and safety obligations. Whether the workplace is Council or non Council the health and safety obligations remain the same, the only Version No. 1 Page 4 of 11 Version Date December 2010

5 Fylde Council - Health & Safety Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls difference being with whom the responsibilities lay. All the information contained within the Occupational Health and Safety Manual can be accessed via Health and Safety link on the intranet. Listed below are some of the specific Arrangements that when implemented can help reduce slips, trips and falls. All are available on the intranet. Risk Assessment Inspection and Audit (Appendix 1 Workplace Inspection Internal and External check sheets) Manual Handling Working at Height Safety in Offices (Appendix 2 provides a list of some effective measures for reducing slip and trip accidents.) Accident / Incidents / Near Miss Reporting Accident / Incidents Investigation For further advice and assistance on this subject or any other health and safety matter contact the Health and Safety Team on Version No. 1 Page 5 of 11 Version Date December 2010

6 APPENDIX 1 Fylde Council Risk Assessment Form 1 This Form can be used for the assessment of all organisational risks including; Health and Safety; Risk Management & Business Continuity. This Form must be used in conjunction with Form 2 Agreed Actions For Details of Risk Ratings see Form 3 Directorate: Customer & Operational Services Date of Assessment: Dec 09 Section: Operational Services Assessment Team: Line manager / Supervisor / Team member Location: Various Assessment Activity / Area / Type : Gritting identified outside areas Do the hazards create a business continuity risk? No WHAT IS THE HAZARD What is the Potential Harm Who is at Risk Controls In Place LIKELIHOOD Severity Risk Rating FURTHER POTENTIAL CONTROLS Slips, trips and falls Hit by moving vehicles Strains and sprains Fractures/death Employees/ public Safety footwear provided and monitored High vis vest/ jacket High vis/trousers Mobile phone should be available -be aware of low/no signal areas To reduce gritting requirements, Identify areas used by pedestrians most likely to be affected by ice, snow e.g. building entrances, emergency exits, car parks, pedestrian walkways etc. Warning cones or appropriate signage should be used where necessary to restrict access while gritting. Site conditions to be Version No. 1 Page 6 of 11 Version Date December 2010

7 dynamically assessed to ensure safety while carrying out task. Use of equipment Manual Handling Lack of gritting materials Personal injury Personal injury Employees/ public Employees/ public As necessary Lifting equipment e.g. shovels Use mechanical equipment where feasible, use by trained staff only. Gritting box replenished at start of Autumn and monitored throughout winter months Employees trained/ instructed in manual handling Working in snow/ice conditions Use of vehicles Vehicle damage, personal injury Personal injury Employees Anyone suffering from thermal discomfort or fatigue must stop work immediately and go indoors, rest and keep warm. Employees/ public All drivers have valid driving licences. Vehicles insured against accident as required by road traffic legislation Routes to be restricted to roads already gritted (if possible). Park vehicle giving consideration to other road users All Agreed Actions and Target Dates must be recorded on Form 2 (FOH&SF 002) Version No. 1 Page 7 of 11 Version Date December 2010

8 Fylde Council Risk Assessment Form 2 Agreed Actions This Form must be completed with the Section Manager and in conjunction with Risk Assessment Form 1 Further Control Agreed Resource implication Person Responsible Signature Target date Completed Identify and document areas used by pedestrians most likely to be affected by ice, snow e.g. building entrances, emergency exits, car parks, pedestrian walkways, shortcuts, sloped areas and areas constantly in the shade or wet. time Line Manager Warning cones or signage should be used where necessary to restrict access and removed once the hazard has passed. Site conditions to be dynamically assessed to ensure safe access and egress maintained. Employees trained/ instructed in manual handling Routes to be restricted to roads already gritted (if possible). Cost of cones Line Manager time Line Manager 50 and 4 hours time Line Manager Toolbox talk Safe system of work Line Manager Park vehicle giving consideration to other road Toolbox talk Safe system of work Line Manager Version No. 1 Page 8 of 11 Version Date December 2010

9 users. Assessment / Activity / Area / Type Section Manager Responsible for this Action Plan. Signature. Action Plan Review Date Version No. 1 Page 9 of 11 Version Date December 2010

10 APPENDIX 2 Safe System of Work Activity: Cleaning up a spills and wet in corridors and walkways(non bodily fluid) Section A work building somewhere Location: Fylde All staff undertaking this activity must be aware of the following control measures and adopt them, where necessary, when performing this task. If it is not possible to comply with these measures please seek advice from your line manager immediately. 1. Following a spillage or noticing a wet area, locate nearest spills kit. 2. Cordon off area if necessary, put out hazard warning signs 3. Clean any spillage in accordance with normal cleaning procedures i.e. hot water, and disinfectant as appropriate. 4. When liquid or substance is removed, ensure that the area is left dry by using absorbent materials. 5. If it is not possible to fully dry the area, put out hazard warning signs. Continue to check area and once dry immediately remove the hazard warning signs. 6. Replenish spills kit if necessary and put away. Equipment: Spills kits (located throughout building) Hazard Warning signs Mop and Bucket Hot Water Suitable cleaning product e.g. disinfectant Dry Mop or other absorbent materials Version No. 1 Page 10 of 11 Version Date December 2010

11 APPENDIX 3 ACCIDENT / INCIDENT / NEAR MISS FORM EXAMPLES OF HOW TO COMPLETE SECTION B Accident / Incident Details Staff Member whilst supervising play period in the playground, fell over and banged their mouth on a bench. Example 1 Investigation can find no apparent reason for the incident Example 2 Investigation finds contributory factors Contact the Health and Version Safety No. Team 1 if you need any assistance with Page the 11 of completion 11 of this Version form Date contact December us on

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