Slips and trips

What you need to do

Contractors and others in control of construction sites must manage work so that people can move safely around the site.

Your site should be kept in a clean and orderly condition so as to reduce the chance of injury through slips and trips.

Everyone can make a contribution to reducing slips and trips on site. If you see a risk, sort it, or report it to someone who can.

Key aspects of construction slips and trips include:

What you need to know

Several thousand construction workers are injured each year following a trip or slip whilst at work on a building site. Around 1000 of these injuries involve someone fracturing bones or dislocating joints.

Most could be avoided by the effective management of working areas and access routes, such as stairwells, corridors, footpaths and site cabins.

Involving the workforce can help identify problem areas and increase the reporting of 'near misses'. Everyone can make a contribution to reducing slips and trips – see it, sort it.

Uneven surfaces

Many slips and trips occur when people are walking on uneven surfaces. The risk can be reduced by providing walkways that are;

  • clearly designated as a walkway;
  • provided with good conditions underfoot;
  • signposted and provided with adequate lighting.

You can also use mechanical lifting aids rather than carrying unwieldy loads that block the view ahead and make sure everyone wears suitable footwear with a good grip.


Other slips and trips happen because there is something in the person's way, such as building materials or waste.

You can help avoid these incidents by:

  • Housekeeping - everyone keeping their work and storage areas tidy;
  • Deliveries - planning deliveries to minimise the amount of materials on site;
  • Waste - designating areas for waste collection, providing skips and bins where needed and making clear the responsibilities for waste removal.

Trailing cables

If you can use cordless tools you may not need to use cables. Where you need cables for temporary lighting or mains-powered tools, run them at high level, especially along corridors

Wet or slippery surfaces

Treat slippery surfaces with stone (mud) or grit (for ice) or provide temporary covering.

Signpost any slippery areas and make sure footwear with a good grip is worn.

Changes in level

Where you cannot avoid small changes in level, such as in doorways, consider installing ramps. If you cannot do this, use signs to warn workers to look out for the change in level.

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