Slips, trips and falls

Ground clutter, uneven or slippery floor surfaces, poor lighting or lack of signage all contribute to thousands of workers getting injured every year

How are workers and others harmed?

Slips, trips and falls are one of the most common cause of injuries for workers and injuries can happen in a number of ways, for example: 

  • unmarked changes in floor levels
  • slipping on a wet floor (which is wet because something is spilt on it, or because of weather conditions or cleaning processes)
  • poor housekeeping and obstructed views – leading to people tripping over loose carpet, mats, trailing cables, boxes or bags
  • damaged flooring including stairs
  • not using stair hand rails
  • cramped conditions and poor work flow (eg desks too close together)
  • standing on unstable furniture
  • poor lighting. 

What can you do?

First you must always eliminate the risk where you’re reasonably able to. Where you’re not reasonably able to, then you need to consider what you can do to minimise the risk. Here are some examples:

  • Keep work and storage areas tidy.
  • Ensure designated walkways are provided with good conditions under foot, signposted and adequately lit.
  • Use mechanical lifting aids rather than carrying heavy or unwieldy loads that block the view ahead.
  • Ensure workers wear appropriate footwear with good grip.
  • Plan deliveries to minimise the amount of materials on site.
  • Have designated areas for waste collection, and provide skips and bins. Make sure everyone knows who is responsible for waste removal.
  • Use cordless tools where possible. If you need to use cables for temporary lighting or power tools, run the cables at a high level.
  • Treat slippery surfaces with stone or grit, depending on the conditions. Make sure you signpost any slippery areas.
  • Consider using a ramp for any changes in level. Where this is not possible, use signs to warn workers to look out for a level change. 

You need to select the most effective controls that are proportionate to the risk, and appropriate to your work situation.

Get your workers involved

  • Ensure your workers know how to make suggestions, ask questions or raise concerns.
  • Always ask your workers for input on identifying health and safety risks and how to eliminate or minimise them. People are more likely to take responsibility and make good decisions when they have been involved in the conversation. Your workers (including contractors and temps) are the eyes and ears of your business. They can help spot issues, and suggest practical, cost-effective solutions.
  • Always train your workers on what the key risks are and how to keep healthy and safe. 

Find out more about getting your workers involved

Where to go for more information

Slips, trips and falls | WorkSafe Victoria(external link)

Slips and trips | Health and Safety Executive (HSE) UK(external link)

Slips, trips and falls | WorkSafe British Columbia(external link)