Unsurprisingly the autumn and winter seasons tend to bring an increased risk of slips and trips.

With less daylight, more leaves on pathways and cold winter spells, companies should ensure they take effective action to reduce accidents in the workplace.

LIGHTING
Is there is enough lighting for you and your staff to be able to see and avoid any hazards at work? The easiest way to find out is to ask your staff or to shadow your employees to identify the routes they use. It is important to do this at different times of the day as the effect of light changes.

FALLEN LEAVES
Wet and decaying leaves can create slip risks and can also serve to hide other hazards. Put in place procedures for removing leaves at regular intervals, or remove offending bushes or trees altogether.

WATER
Rainwater can cause many hazards when not properly managed.

Many slips happen at building entrances as people entering the building walk in pools of rainwater. Fitting canopies of a good size over building entrances and in the right position can help to prevent this. If a canopy is not a possibility, consider installing absorbent mats or changing the entrance flooring to one which is non-slip.

Employers should discourage people from taking shortcuts over grass or dirt which are likely to become slippery when wet. Where existing shortcuts exist, consider converting them into proper paths.

On new sites, before laying paths think about how pedestrians are likely to move around the site. Putting the path in the right place from the start may save you money in the long term.

When installing external paved areas ensure that the material chosen will not be slippery when wet.

ICE, FROST AND SNOW
Living and working in the UK means that ice, frost and snow can be an unavoidable fact of life.

To reduce the risk of slips you need to assess the risk and put in a system to manage it.

  • Identify any areas most likely to be affected by ice.
  • Monitor the temperature and take action whenever freezing temperatures are forecast.
  • Put procedures in place to prevent icy surfaces from forming or keep pedestrians off the slippery surface. Covered walkways and putting barriers to block off existing slippery surfaces can be helpful.

Gritting can also be essential in some situations and it is relatively cheap, quick to apply and easy to spread.

Rock salt is the most commonly used grit. It can stop ice forming and cause existing ice or snow to melt.

Gritting should be carried out whenever freezing temperatures are forecast. The best times are early in the evening before the frost settles or early in the morning before employees arrive.

It is worth remembering, though, that salt does not work instantly and when it is raining heavily the salt will be washed away.

These risks may seem obvious as the days draw in, but to a busy company these can be easily overlooked. By putting these actions in place you significantly reduce any nasty mishaps the colder seasons may bring.

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