In comedy, slips are often seen as amusing and light-hearted; in reality, slips, trips, and falls can cause grievous injuries to an individual's muscles, bones, nerves, and, in severe cases when an individual slips in a hot kitchen, wounds on the skin from hot surfaces, pans, or knives can cause life-changing injuries.
The Health and Safety Executive reports statistics on workplace accidents and rates slips, trips, and falls as the most common workplace accident. It’s serious business! Any conscientious employer will take measures to prevent this costly accident from happening in the first place.
How Prevalent are Slips, Trips, and Falls at Work?
43% of serious injuries result from slips, trips, and falls (STFs) at work. Furthermore, one quarter of all over-seven-day absences and injuries are a result of slips, trips, and falls. In 2014, there was an increase in workplace accidents than in 2013. In 2014, there were nearly 3.2 million non-fatal accidents, resulting in four days’ absence from work. In 2015/2016, 144 workers were killed due to workplace accidents. Between 2011 and 2016, falls accounted for the biggest workplace fatalities in Northern Ireland. UNISON safety representatives identified that slips, trips, and falls were one of their top five hazards on a TUC safety survey in 2016.
However, it's important to consider that accidents are often under-reported by employers; it’s estimated that only half of cases are even reported. 4.5 million working days are lost due to workplace injuries, and employee injuries can be very costly to employers.
Workplace Case Study
In an example of workplace negligence where a 16 year old girl slipped on water from a leaking ice-machine where she then put her hand out to break the fall, placing her forearm into a deep fat fryer, the workplace was fined £15,000 for not having the appropriate measures in place to prevent slips, trips, and falls. Staff shortages on that day meant that the supervisor wasn’t monitoring safety, and no one was there to mop up spills.
Common practice at this establishment for dealing with spills was putting cardboard on top of it, which only creates an additional trip hazard. The ice-machine - it was found - had been leaking for several days and hadn’t been repaired. Measures were put in place after the incident had occurred such as prioritising cleaning spills, repairing the faulty equipment, adding slip-resistant mats, supplying appropriate slip-resistant footwear (free of charge) as a final and last-resort measure, and providing training on workplace hazards, and so forth. The total cost to the employer was £600,000 in compensation and healthcare costs. Find more HSE case studies here.
Industries at High Risk
The catering industry is especially vulnerable to STFs from leaks, spills, poorly placed items, disrepair of floors, and insufficient cleaning of surfaces. Additional risk occurs when there are sharp tools, hard surfaces, hot liquids, and so forth.
In two examples reported to the HSE, one mother died when carrying a kitchen knife in a commercial kitchen where she worked. When she fell it severed an artery in her neck and she died of her wounds. Another example is when an employee slipped on custard on the floor in a canteen when she was cleaning it, and broke her leg, later dying from a blood clot.
Make sure your employees are protected at work by using slip-resistant footwear as an additional safety measure.
CLEANING AND HOSPITALITY
Finally, cleaners and hospitality staff are also at increased risk for STFs. For all industries, hazards should be identified and lessened wherever possible. All workers should be trained on which cleaning agents to use on specially treated non-slip floors, for example, as the wrong cleansing products can render these floors ineffective.
At SHOES FOR CREWS (Europe), Ltd. we exceed industry standards. That means that for many of our styles we meet double the industry standard, and our shoes are tested on both steel and ceramic surfaces covered in glycerine. Even under those tough conditions, our shoes stop slips. We are quite literally the safest in the industry. That’s not a brag! It’s a fact.
The healthcare industry is also at greater risk for STFs, causing 50% of reported accidents and serious injury to employees, as reported by the HSE. An example of an accident that was reported was that one woman, an occupational therapy assistant, slipped on wet leaves outside the clinic, twisting her knee. Four years later, she slipped again on a wet vinyl floor, and fractured her right ankle, causing pain and disability in both ankle and knee.
She had to have multiple operations, which led to a below the knee operation, employment termination in her 20s, and due to her not being able to wear her artificial limb for long periods, she is mostly wheelchair bound. She had to be compensated as a result of these workplace accidents.
All precautions should be taken to protect employees in healthcare. Slip-resistant, water-resistant footwear is best for healthcare professionals.
How to Help Prevent Accidents
Everyone has a part to play in preventing STFs from happening at work from cleaning staff to managers and more. Managers should install slip-resistant mats and flooring where possible. All floors should be cleaned and mopped regularly when hazards are identified. Faulty equipment should be fixed. And as a last, but very important measure, all employers should wear slip-resistant footwear. Don’t skimp on the cost of high-quality, safe footwear; we can assure you that compensation will be much more costly as will lost work time and wages.
SHOES FOR CREWS (Europe), Ltd. has safe, slip-resistant footwear at all different price ranges, starting as low as £21.49 per pair. Each shoe we have designed exceeds industry standards, is long lasting, and durable. Our customers rave about our products, and buy from us again and again.
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