Preventing slips, trips and falls according to Worksafe

What is the problem?

Slips, trips or falls occurring where community services are performed.

What are the risks?

Workers can experience musculoskeletal injuries (eg sprains, strains, fractures and soft tissue injuries) from slips, trips or falls. Common sources of risk in internal environments include:

• uneven floor areas

• poorly maintained floor surfaces

• slippery floor surfaces (eg from cleaning products and /or methods of cleaning) • wet or dry floors from water, grease, oil, dust or paper

• cluttered or poorly lit work areas or passages

• no aids or inappropriate aids to reach objects stored above the ground (eg standing on chairs to reach objects)

• spills. Common sources of risk in other locations include: • poor lighting (eg when getting in or out of vehicles)

• weather (eg frost, rain, heat)

• wearing footwear that does not match the environmental conditions

• uneven ground surfaces

• growth of plant material (eg moss, lichen, grass)

• pets or animals.

What are solutions to the problems?

• Before services are provided, employers should identify the risks and put risk controls in consultation with workers and health and safety representatives.

• Provide reporting processes so safety issues can be identified and fixed as soon as possible.

• Schedule and record regular inspections and maintenance of all areas of the workplace and all equipment

Provide workers with information, instruction, training and supervision in relation to work procedures and the use of equipment and aids.

• Keep hallways and corridors clear of equipment, rubbish and electrical cords.

• Install extra power points to avoid stretching electrical cords across floors.

• Keep stored items at a suitable height to avoid the need for climbing to reach them.

• Provide suitable equipment for reaching objects or performing work above shoulder height (eg step platforms with handrails provide a larger, more stable work surface than ladders).

• Ensure non-slip footwear is worn.

Floors, ground surfaces and lighting

• Maintain floor and ground surfaces. Replace uneven or damaged surfaces that may present trip hazards (eg damaged carpets, mats, tiles or vinyl). • Install slip-resistant surfaces on stair treads, ramps and on other hazardous walking or working surfaces.

• Place anti-slip mats at entrances.

• Keep outdoor surfaces free of leaves, mud, clippings, paper and remove moss or slime.

• Improve lighting in conjunction with providing highly visible markings in poorly lit areas.

• Clean up spills immediately, regardless of how small the spill is.

• Clean floors outside common working hours. If not practical, introduce a system so people do not walk on surfaces until they are dry

Ensure footwear has slip resistant soles, adequate support and rounded heels that have sufficient contact with the ground.