Simple mistakes shatter lives
Slips, trips and falls from height can all have serious consequences. Everyone can do more to ensure that their workplace becomes a safer environment. The effects of slips, trips and falls at work are far reaching, both for those involved, their families and the industries they work in. The cost to society alone is in the order of £800 million per year. The Shattered Lives Campaign website is here to help raise awareness, provide guidance and encourage employers and employees to take action to help reduce the risk of a slip, trip or fall at work.
The UK's largest pork producer, Tulip, recognised slips and trips were accounting for a high proportion of incidents at its Ashton site so decided to tackle the issue head on.
It introduced a whole raft of changes, from fundamental alterations to the fabric and layout of the abattoir, butchery hall, packing area and retail slicing hall to simple, cost effective measures such as revising its cleaning procedures. All these combined have resulted in a quarter fewer slips and trips incidents - a 28 per cent fall between 2004 and 2009.
One of the biggest contributors to slips and trips was meat debris and grease from fat getting on to the floor, so looking at simple ways to stop it hitting the floor in the first place became the focus.
Butchers working on pace lines often missed the product trays so plates were fitted under the trays to catch any stray debris. Catch trays were also positioned at the end of each boning line in the butchery hall and similar catch troughs were introduced in the abattoir.
Simple changes in cleaning processes were implemented. Scrapers were traditionally used to clear debris but as these dragged grease across the floor shovels were introduced to remove the waste directly from where it fell.
Tulip sought advice on what the best slip resistant footwear would be for the specialised jobs its workers were doing and additional grip was welded onto the floor of boot washes to reduce the potential for slips and trips.
Larger-scale changes have included the laying of a new easy-clean epoxy floor which gives high slip resistance and the replacement of the chequer plate-type material used on the platforms used to access the carcasses, which often became wet and slippery, with 'cheese grater' style floors.
Other measures have included the re-routing of cables to reduce the trip hazard and the feeding of waste water pipes to drains away from platforms and worker areas. Also, the induction staff receive has been updated to include more detail on slips and trips and the hazard reporting procedure.
Matthew Green, Site H&S Office said : "We've made huge strides in reducing slips and trips and the changes have been welcomed by staff. However, our work doesn't end here. We'll continue to carry out risk assessments to be sure we are doing all we can and we will be sharing good practice between all our sites."
Thomas Timmins, Maintenance engineer and Union representative added: "The measures implemented not only benefit the production teams but also the maintenance staff, helping to make work safer and cleaner.
An unexpected obstacle in your path can cause a serious trip and fall. It is important to keep walkways clear, so make sure boxes, bags, cables and other obstacles aren’t left hanging around.
Spillages are one of the most common causes of slips in the workplace; we all need to be vigilant and clean up any spilt substance that could cause an accident. Take a look in your workplace and see if you can improve how you work.
Leaving boxes around can cause a serious trip hazard. Deliveries should be put into proper storage as quickly as possible and pallets or packaging cleared away. Your actions can make a real difference.
If you have an issue with slips and trips in your workplace, get your team together and look at how you can work together to make your workplace a safer environment. Think about where the main risks to workers are and how to address them. Our hazard spotting checklist can help you do this.
Steps or ramps are places where a worker can trip or fall. If you have changes in level or ramps in your workplace think about sensible measures to make sure everyone knows where they are.
Using the wrong cleaning method or the wrong cleaning equipment can put staff at risk by making the floor slippery. Make sure cleaners know the correct cleaning method and use it.
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