Slips and trips in waste management and recycling
Slips and trips are the cause of many injuries at work. However, effective solutions that are often simple and cheap can improve working conditions and productivity in the workplace. Visit the HSE slips and trips website for more advice.
Our leaflet on manual handling provides ideas on how to eliminate the need for carrying, an activity which often causes people to lose their balance.
- Slips and trips in outdoor areas
- Major causes of slips and trips
Slips and trips in the fixed workplace (outdoor areas)
As rain, puddles, mud, ice and poor lighting increase the risk of accidents in outdoor areas, you should consider the following:
- eliminate the use of rough ground where this can reasonably be achieved. Some activities may be better moved to suitable concreted areas;
- keep rough ground as level as possible. In some cases, regular levelling may be needed to remove ramps, areas of subsidence, deep vehicle wheel ruts etc. Pedestrian routes over rough ground should be suitably designated, marked and maintained;
- improve drainage to remove standing water. Consider the benefits of laying chippings, treating foot paths in frosty weather and improving lighting.
Major causes of slips and trips
Here is a brief checklist of some of the major causes of slips and trips at waste management sites and possible solutions.
Spillage of items and wet and dry substances
- Can the spillage be prevented?
- Clear away spillages immediately.
- Do you have suitable materials to clear away wet spillages (eg absorbent pellets for greasy liquids)?
- If spillages of items are inevitable or where floors may remain wet for some time (eg after cleaning), warn and divert pedestrians using barriers and signs.
Waste mounds on floors (eg before loading into compactors or before sorting)
- Can they be restricted to designated areas or contained?
- Can pedestrian routes close to them be re-routed?
- Do employees walk on the mounds? Can the system of work be changed to prevent this?
Trailing cables, hoses etc
- Position electrical or water outlets so as to minimise the need for trailing cables and hoses.
- Position equipment to avoid pedestrian routes.
- Restrict pedestrian access.
- Use suitable covers for pipes and cables.
Office rugs, mats, lino, tiles etc
- Ensure they are securely fixed and have no curling edges.
- Select suitable floor coverings taking into account expected wear and tear.
- Keep in a good state of repair.
- Minimise pedestrian traffic.
- Can suitable floor treatments be applied to minimise a slippery surface?
Changes from wet to dry floor surface
- Provide doormats, foot-scrapers, etc to prevent water/mud being walked onto dry floors.
- Change footwear if necessary.
- Warn of risks using signs.
- Improve lighting levels.
- Replace fused bulbs.
- Keep bulbs clean.
Changes in floor level-slopes and steps
- Improve lighting levels.
- Add high-visibility tread boards and floor markings.
- Is a handrail appropriate?
- By law, employers are required to provide special protective footwear free of charge for certain types of work.
- Are employees aware of your rules regarding wearing appropriate footwear?
- What do you do to ensure they wear suitable footwear?