Slips and trips

Over a quarter of all reportable accidents in  ports and docks are due to slips or trips. Slips and trips can be serious, resulting in broken or dislocated bones and long periods off work. They should not be accepted as 'one of those things'. Simple steps can often be taken to prevent them happening.

Typical slip and trip hazards in ports

  • Working on uneven, wet or icy surfaces on loads.
  • Adverse weather conditions.
  • Badly stowed mooring ropes, container lashing gear and other equipment.
  • Use of inappropriate flooring or surfaces on walkways, ramps and access steps.
  • Discarded packaging and pallets.
  • Deck fittings and pipework on ship.
  • Poor or unsuitable lighting in work areas.

How the risks can be reduced

  • Good housekeeping - encourage a 'see it, sort it' culture and appropriate monitoring and reporting systems. Report and follow up where a work area has been left untidy by employees from other companies.
  • Loose lifting accessories should be adequately stored.
  • Specify appropriate flooring/surfaces. Slopes and ramps should have a suitable surface which should where necessary be ribbed or coated so as to be slip-resistant.
  • Maintain floors, steps and walkways in good condition.
  • Where surfaces do become slippery due to adverse weather or tidal conditions then they should be maintained to ensure that vehicles and pedestrians can move about safely.
  • Beware of oil spillages, spilt bulk cargo and trip hazards across walkways.
  • Where a vessel is a frequent visitor, work with the Master to make sure trip hazards are painted a conspicuous colour.
  • Consider the type of load, weather conditions and likely contaminants when selecting suitable footwear. For example, studs or chains may be required if accessing cargoes covered in ice.
  • Provide adequate lighting.

What law applies?

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Updated 2021-11-09