Guidance on preventing Slips, Trips and Falls

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1 Children s Service Local Code of Practice 28 Guidance on preventing Slips, Trips and Falls Issued March 2012

2 Local Code of Practice Preventing slips, trips and falls Introduction: 55% of all accidents in education are caused by a slip or a trip. Last year, almost 2000 major injury slip and trip accidents in the education sector were reported to us, 571 of which were to employees, a 5% rise on the previous year. 90% of major accidents resulted in a broken bone causing considerable personal distress and a significant amount of time away from work. When taking action to prevent accidents, there is a tendency to focus on protecting and educating students, but staff and others in educational establishments are equally as important and have a major role to play in preventing slips and trips What can employers do to? Risk assessment You must manage the health and safety risks in your workplace. To do this you need to decide whether you are doing enough to prevent harm. This process is known as a risk assessment and it is something you are required by law to carry out. A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork, but rather about taking sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace, for example using doormats to stop rainwater being tracked in and making the floor slippery. You are probably already taking steps to protect your employees, but your risk assessment will tell you whether you should be doing more. Consider what risks in your workplace may lead to slip or trip injuries, and decide what suitable and effective control measures will prevent these types of accidents. You then need to put these control measures into practice. Concentrate on the real risks those that are most likely to cause harm. Think about how accidents could happen and who might be harmed (e.g. icy conditions on pathways as a result of frost). To assist you in doing this: ask your employees what they think the hazards are, as they may notice things that are not always obvious to you, and may have some good ideas on how to help control the risks; In many instances, straightforward measures can readily control risks, for example ensuring spillages are cleaned up promptly so people do not slip. Make a record of any significant observations and what you have in place to prevent them. If you have fewer than five employees you don t have to write anything down but it is good practice to keep a record. Few workplaces stay the same, so it makes sense to review what you are doing on an ongoing basis. Page 1

3 Managing for health and safety A good management system will help you identify problem areas, decide what to do, act on decisions made and check that the steps taken have been effective. Guidance on managing health and safety can be found at Practical steps to prevent slips and trips accidents There are many simple ways to control slips and trip risks, and prevent accidents in your workplace. Here are a few examples. Stop floors becoming contaminated use entrance matting fix leaks from machinery or buildings 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. Ensure you have an appropriate system in place 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 if footwear is supplied as personal protective equipment (PPE), it must be supplied free of charge to employees. Page 2

4 Think about people and organisational factors consider how work is organised and managed, e.g. to avoid rushing, overcrowding, trailing cables. What can employees do to prevent slips and trips? if you have an accident or a near miss, make sure you report it to your employer promptly they can use this information to prevent future accidents if you see a spillage, clean it up or make arrangements for it to be cleaned do not ignore it report any damaged floors or mats play your part and keep the 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 PPE, wear it and look after it. Report any faults or damage to your employer and make arrangements for a replacement tell your employer about any work situation that you think is dangerous, or if you notice that something has gone wrong with their health and safety arrangements. Area Practical measures for slip risk control External steps, paths and parking areas: suitable lighting replace, repair or clean lights before levels become too low to be safe ensure steps and paths are suitable for the volume of pedestrian traffic ensure paving slabs are secure and tarmac paths in good condition to give a flat, even surface maintain parking area so that it is free of potholes mark the nosing of steps using the anti-slip coating as smooth, gloss paint will make the surface slippery in wet conditions provide handrails where appropriate and maintain in good condition discourage short cuts across grassed/muddy areas clean leaves, mud etc from surfaces remove algal growth put in place effective procedures to deal with snow or ice Playgrounds and all-weather sports surfaces: ensure surface is flat and well maintained to avoid surface water remove accumulations of mud/water remove algal growth ensure users wear the appropriate footwear for the surface Building entrances/exits: properly positioned door canopies of good size can prevent rain and dirty water from entering the building and getting onto the floor, so preventing slips risks provide non-slip, water absorbing mats at entrances that are large enough to dry shoes maintain mats in good condition and change when saturated Page 3

5 ensure that temporary matting does not curl and so pose a trip risk display signs warning of hidden steps/changes of level display signs warning of risk of slipping when appropriate site door catches and door stops safely Sports halls: ensure suitable footwear is worn maintain floor mats in good condition and ensure they remain flat keep smooth floors clean and completely free of wet or dust contamination don t make smooth sports hall floors even smoother by polishing and buffing Changing rooms/swimming pools: avoid contamination of the floor surface with mud/water from pupils entering by: - providing shoe cleaning brushes/scrapers - providing suitable entrance mats for pupils to clean and dry feet on provide non-slip flooring and ensure that anti-slip flooring is sourced and specified correctly provide non-slip mats or grids in shower areas provide handholds for people with disabilities display no running signs if required Internal stairs and corridors: ensure a staggered release of students onto heavily used traffic routes put in place measures for traffic streaming and flow management up/down stairs put in place measures for traffic streaming and flow management along corridors mark nosing of steps using anti-slip coating, as smooth, gloss paint will make the surface slippery under wet conditions. Provide handrails at a useable level (for children and adults) lighting replace, repair or clean lights before levels become too low to be safe apply appropriate anti-slip coatings to areas of smooth flooring which may become wet Classroom areas (including laboratories and practical areas): avoid trailing cables from equipment and tools provide storage racks for pupils bags provide coat hooks/racks for drying wet clothing consider siting such areas on specialist anti-slip flooring as even drips of rain water on smooth surfaces can be enough to result in slips provide specialist anti-slip flooring in potentially wet areas avoid overcrowding of rooms control the entry and exit of people from classes provide a clear walkway around the room don t let displayed art work, practical work etc obstruct the walkways clear away toys in early years classes so they do not obstruct the walkways Preparation rooms, technician areas and storage rooms: provide suitable storage for goods and equipment keep containers of bulk liquids in bonded areas, as spills cause slips keep a clear area around machines, kilns and other equipment use slip resistant flooring around machines Page 4

6 remove floor contamination, e.g. sawdust, clay and oils quickly and effectively Kitchens: provide suitable equipment to avoid spillages (from cooking, washing etc) provide edged work surfaces to contain spillages ensure good ventilation to avoid smoke/steam and condensation ensure staff wear suitable footwear spot clean small spillages and pick up food contamination immediately ensure good housekeeping around bins ensure floor surface is non slip, and that it is rough enough to cope with greasy contamination thoroughly clean floors with products appropriate for surface and contamination removal after work has finished prevent anyone from walking on the wet floor e.g. use segregation barriers, lock doors only use cones as a temporary warning device, they do not prevent people from walking on spills or wet floors remove warning signs as soon as hazard has been removed Canteen areas: ensure staff wear suitable footwear spot clean small spillages and pick up spilt food immediately ensure floor surface is rough enough to cope with greasy contamination clean floors only when pupils/students have left the area use the right cleaning product for the floor and for contamination removal prevent anyone from walking on the wet floor eg use segregation barriers, lock doors only use cones as a temporary warning device, they do not prevent people from walking on spills or wet floors remove warning signs as soon as hazard has gone Offices: provide a clear, safe walkway within the office avoid trailing cables use cable covers provide adequate storage do not store or leave materials in the walkways and around equipment eg around photocopiers, printers, desks etc replace worn or damaged carpets/tiles provide secure storage for bags etc Events: ensure temporary cabling is routed safely and protected from damage provide sufficient lighting during set-up/dismantling use temporary matting/straw coverings on grassed areas Educational visits: assess location and anticipated weather modify visit depending on local conditions when on site wear suitable footwear ensure effective management of the visit Page 5

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