Slips and trips in education
These web pages contain information on managing slips and trips in educational establishments – and provide links to relevant guidance.
Why do slips and trips matter
Slips and trips are the most common cause of injury at work – and the most reported injury to members of the public. They can lead to both minor and major injuries – and sometimes fatal accidents from head injuries following a fall from height, where the underlying cause was a slip or trip.
Slips and trips occur across all education premises – whether a small local primary school, a busy secondary school, a multi-site further education college, or the campus of a higher education institution. They provide a wide variety of facilities including educational, leisure and residential, open to employees, pupils/ students and members of public at varying times of the day. Sites can be busy with large numbers of people moving around at the same time – often rushing.
Slip and trip accidents in education premises happen for a number of reasons. They typically involve:
- members of staff or pupils/students running or carrying heavy or awkward items,
- wearing unsuitable footwear,
- poor lighting - particularly where there are uneven surfaces and changes of level
- contamination – both from wet surfaces – caused by water, and fluid spillages; and slippery surfaces - caused by contaminants eg food, litter etc.
- Obstructions – particularly bags and trailing cables
What does the law require me to do?
Health and safety law requires you to manage the risks in your workplace. In schools, colleges and universities this will include managing risks to staff, pupils, students and visitors to the site. This includes taking steps to control slip and trip risks so everyone is able to move around safely.
Further guidance on how the law applies to slips and trips is available on the Slips website.
Slip and trip incidents are preventable - they are not inevitable. Most solutions are simple and low cost.
- Slip and trip accidents are often linked to cleaning regimes. Cleaning can create slip and trip hazards, especially for those entering the area being cleaned. A good management system will help to identify problem areas, establish sensible cleaning regimes to help reduce the risk of slips and trips.
- Footwear can play an important role in preventing slip incidents. Some staff eg kitchen personnel may need slip resistant footwear supplied as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- Lighting is important - Poor lighting can obscure, while excessive light can cause glare and can again obscure hazards.
Find out more
Detailed guidance and information is available on the slip and trips website:
- Slips and Trips e learning package (STEP)
- Slips Assessment Tool (SAT)
- Models to help evaluate the factors that can contribute to slips and trips
- Preventing slips and trips at work: A brief guide
- Slips and trips: Hazard spotting checklist
- Slips and trips: The Importance of Floor cleaning HSE Information Sheet – Slips and trips 2)
- Preventing slips and trips in kitchens and food service Catering Information sheet No 6 (revised)
- Assessing the slip resistance of flooring
- Slips and trips mapping tool: An aid for safety representatives
- Slip incidents in kitchen and associated areas
- Tackling slips in a further education establishment
- Risk of slips reduced in school canteen
- The use of STEP in vocational training (links to the National Archives)