Causes and prevention


Slip and trip accidents happen for a number of reasons. The following model will help you understand the factors that can contribute to slip accidents and the action to take to prevent them . It is called the slip potential model. One or more of these factors may play a part in any slip accident.

Slip potential model


The majority of trips are caused by obstructions in walkways. The rest are caused by uneven surfaces. Preventing these accidents is often simple and cost-effective.

You need to get all three right (walkways, housekeeping and design and maintenance), to prevent tripping accidents.

Preventing trips

Trip potential triangle

Trip potential triangle


Check for a suitable walkways - Are they in the right place, are they being used, are they available for use?

What tasks are taking place on the walkway, is the task preventing the employee from seeing where he is going for example.


It is not just good enough to have a walkway, it must be kept clear, no trailing wires, no obstructions. Employees and cleaners need to have 'a see it, sort it' attitude to ensure these and other work areas are kept clear. Is the cleaning regime effective? Are there enough bins, storage facilities etc?

Design and maintenance

Is the floor suitable for the environment, fitted correctly and properly maintained. Are the walkways wide enough & level. Are stairs suitable, are risers consistent, are nosings highlighted where necessary, are usable handrails available. Environmental factors also fall into this category, is the lighting good enough for employees to see hazards, what about distractions that might prevent them from seeing where they are going.

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