Slips on wet and contaminated floors
Slips and trips injuries comprise 35% of 'major' injuries in the food and drink industries (e.g. causing a broken arm or requiring hospitalisation). Slips injuries are more prevalent in the food and drink industries than in most other industries.
For both major and over-3-day absence injuries combined, slips and trips comprise nearly 25% of food and drink industry injuries reported to HSE. This represents around 1,300 injuries per year, of which approximately 80% are slips and 20% trips.
Main causes of slip and trip injuries
It is a common misconception that slip injuries just happen and
that little can be done about it. However years of experience now
shows that slip prevention can be managed effectively and can cut
injuries by 50% or more, significantly reducing costs.
Most slips (90%) occur when the floor is wet with water or
contaminated with food product.
Most trips (75%) are caused by obstructions, the remainder by
Managing the risk
Prevention of slips
- Eliminate contamination of the floor from water or food
product (eg lips around tables, leak and spillage prevention, dry
methods to clean floors)
- Prevent contamination of walkways (eg bunds around equipment,
drainage channels, cleaning incoming footwear)
- Limit the effects of contamination (eg immediate treatment of
spillages, good ventilation for drying)
- Ensure floor has sufficient surface roughness. Floors which
may become water contaminated should have at least 20 microns
roughness (Rtm) increasing to 45 microns for milk and 70 microns
for olive oil. Such roughness is microscopic and does not prevent
- Ensure cleaning regime is effective and reduces slip risk.
Floor treatments can often make floors more slippery.
- Select suitable footwear as the effectiveness of shoe soles
to prevent slips varies considerably. In general, softer soles
(eg microcellular urethane with a good pattern) are least
slippery on wet floors.
- Carrying loads or pushing/pulling trolleys increases the slip
risk and should be eliminated or reduced where possible.
Prevention of trips
- Eliminate holes, slopes or uneven surfaces
- Eliminate materials or objects likely to cause tripping