Last week I was visiting a local business, I was a customer to them. Whilst there I asked if I may use their loo and was directed to the one upstairs.

I was now in the staff only area and somewhat shocked to see a number of potentially dangerous trip hazards including cables, loose floor coverings and even torn carpet on the stairs.

Obviously, I pointed these faults out to the business bosses and I fully accept that their main concern is the areas open to their paying customers, which were faultless. However, this got me thinking “How man of you also keep the parts of your business, where the public can see, in good order but sadly forget the ‘behind scenes’ area where your staff go?”

So this week I thought that I should remind everybody about the risks of ‘Slips and Trips’

Slips and trips are the most common cause of injury at work. On average, they cause 40 per cent of all reported major injuries and can also lead to other types of serious accidents, for example falls from height. Slips and trips are also the most reported injury to members of the public..

Most slips occur in wet or contaminated conditions and most trips and falls (on the same level) are due to poor housekeeping. The solutions are often simple and of low cost.

Sadly, too many people think that slips, trips and falls are inevitable and so do not take the risks associated seriously. This is not the case, and the application of good risk assessment and management controls can significantly reduce the risk of a slip, trip or fall occurring.

The main factors that play a part in contributing to slip, trip or fall accidents are:

  • Cleaning – Spills etc can cause somebody to slip
  • Flooring – Damaged of incorrect flooring can cause trips
  • Lighting – Poor Lighting can prevent people seeing obstructions, slippery surfaces etc
  • Environment – Does the work environment create risks such as causing people to hurry unnecessarily
  • Footwear – Wearing the wrong footwear can cause trips or slips
  • contamination and obstacles – Are objects just left lying around?
  • People – Are things being well organized to avoid rushing, overcrowding etc.

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.

Recommendations for employers:

  1. assess the risks to workers, decide how significant the risks are, prevent or control the risks and develop a clear management plan
  2. consult with the workforce and their representatives about risk assessments and actions
  3. ensure everyone is aware of the risk assessments and procedures in place

 Control methods or risk reduction techniques must be used to:

  1. ensure conditions are correct from the start. Ensure flooring and lighting are fit for purpose and have the appropriate surface roughness characteristics
  2. provide staff with information and training on good working practice
  3. adopt a programme of planned preventative maintenance and undertake repairs when identified
  4. where floors may become wet or contaminated, ensure they are regularly inspected and dried immediately
  5. ensure spillages are promptly cleaned up
  6. ensure appropriate signage is displayed when areas are being cleaned and removed when the floor can be used normally
  7. ensure all accidents are investigated and staff made aware of the findings and actions taken.

Case law

Accidents caused by slips, trips and falls in the workplace can result in substantial awards for damages. Employers can be sued for negligence for failing to provide a safe place of work for both employees and visitors.

A supermarket worker who fell when she slipped in cream spilled by a customer awarded £200,000 for injuries she suffered. Although cleaners had mopped the original spillage, the worker fell heavily at the same spot because the floor had not been cleaned effectively and was left greasy. Had the supermarket cleaned the area properly and provided barriers until the area was safe, the worker would not have slipped on the grease.

Employers must ensure they maintain a safe working environment for their staff at all times.

 Did you know?

  • Slips and trips are the most common cause of specified (major) injuries at work and can happen almost anywhere.

  • Slips and trips in workplaces were the most common cause of specified injuries in the workplace in 2016/17, and slips, trips and falls from height account for 29% of all reported injuries to employees.

  • Slips, trips and falls cost employers over £500m per year.


Selection of materials – Anti slip flooring etc.


Delegation and Record Keeping – Who is in charge of clearing up spillages?


Are leaks repaired quickly? Spillages dealt with promptly?

Monitor and Review

Communicate with staff about slips and trips. Learn from mistakes.

If you would like any further help or support, please please contact us by phone 01458 253682, email or via our Facebook page or by Twitter.

Taunton & Somerset CPD Group at The Exchange House Taunton

Please remember that we now run these CPD events at the Exchange House, 12 – 14 The Crescent, Taunton TA1 4EB on a fortnightly basisExchange House Taunton and Somerset CPD Group

The next of the CPD events is listed below.

As previously requested, if you could let us know whether or not you can attend it would be greatly appreciated. Also, if you would like to give a talk, or know of somebody who would, please contact Jon at [email protected]

Our next Seminar will be on Wednesday 15th May 2019 Could you please arrive by 12:30pm prompt.

Our speaker for this one is Craig Huxley of Triflex (UK) Limited will talk about Intelligent roof protection and living life outside


If you haven’t already booked your place, or if you are not on the CPD Seminar mailing list but would like to be please drop Jon an email and he will deal with your request.

As per our last one if you could let Jon know whether or not you can attend within 7 days of receipt of his email, it would be greatly appreciated.

Contact Details [email protected], 07831 714199 or 01458 253682

Training Courses

We shall be running new courses again in 2019 and the dates and details of forthcoming courses will be published here each week.Health and Safety training

But remember we are still available for running “In House” courses and are looking to add new training courses to our list.

If you have any questions about these courses or any other training or would like us to run a particular course for you, call Jon Wilkins of the Wilkins Safety Group on 01458 253682 or email him at [email protected].


Tuesday 7th May 2019

Under the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure they provide adequately trained persons to cover their First-aid requirements. The following course has been approved and recognised by the HSE as meeting the basic requirements set by the regulations.

Now includes introduction to Mental Health First Aid as per HSE recommendations.


HSE increases FFI charge by almost 20%

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has increased its fee for intervention (FFI) hourly rate from £129 to £154.

FFI was designed to recover costs incurred by the HSE during regulatory action against organisations that fail to comply with safety and health law, thus transferring the financial burden from the taxpayer to the business.

The new charge came into effect on 6 April and it is the second increase since the scheme was introduced in October 2012. The rate first went up in 2016, from £124.

In a statement, the HSE said:

“HSE’s cost recovery rate for FFI will increase to £154 per hour with effect from 6 April 2019. This means that businesses that are found to be in material breach of health and safety law will be charged at this new rate. As now, those businesses that meet their legal requirements will not pay anything for HSE’s regulatory activity.

“HSE must set the FFI rate with the aim of recovering its full cost and in recent years it has operated at a deficit (i.e. cost more than recovered in income). A combination of this and cumulative inflationary pressures support the increased hourly rate.”

A material breach is defined by the HSE as “something which an inspector considers serious enough that they need to formally write to the business requiring action to be taken”. 

This is a much more significant jump and I think people will notice the difference in their FFI invoices given the roughly 20% increase in the hourly rate for HSE inspectors.

Companies should be ensuring that they are complying with the law and operating safely in order to avoid these FFI invoices being served in the first place. It’s getting more expensive to be investigated by the HSE and if they find a material breach, that is now going to be significantly more expensive.

Under the scheme, the HSE only recovers costs of its regulatory work from non-compliant duty holders found to be in material breach of safety and health law.

The fee covers an inspector’s time spent identifying and resolving the issue, as well as any investigation or enforcement action up to the point where HSE’s intervention has been concluded or a prosecution is started, or a report submitted to the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland. It is calculated by multiplying the time spent on FFI activity by the hourly rate.