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Slip and trips

What you need to know

1. Many construction workers are injured each year due to a trip or slip while working on a construction site.

2. Most cases could be prevented by the effective management of working areas and access routes, such as corridors, footpaths, stairwells and site cabins.

3. Consulting the workers can assist identify problem areas and increase the reporting of near misses. Everyone can help in reducing slips and trips.

What you need to do

4. Employers must manage work so that workers can move safely around the site.

5. Site should be maintained in a condition that is clean and orderly so as to minimize the possibility of injury through slips and trips.

6. Everyone can help minimizing slips and trips on site. If you see a risk, sort it, or report it to someone who can.

7. Key aspects of slips and trips in construction site include:

(a) Uneven surfaces
Slips and trips can occur when workers are walking on uneven surfaces. The risk can be minimized by providing walkways that are;
• Clearly designated as a walkway;
• Provided with good conditions underfoot;
• Signposted and provided with adequate lighting.
Make sure workers wear suitable footwear with a good grip.

(b) Obstacles
Slips and trips can happen due to obstacles, such as building materials or waste.
The risk can be prevented by:
• Housekeeping – keep work and storage areas tidy;
• Deliveries – plan to minimize the amount of materials on site;
• Waste – waste collection areas are designated, skips and bins are provided if necessary and the responsibilities for waste removal are specified.

(c) Trailing cables
Eliminate trailing cables by using cordless tools. If not possible, make sure cables are at high level, especially along corridors.

(d) Wet or slippery surfaces
Avoid using surfaces that slippery by nature or become slippery when wet. Make sure worker wears footwear with a good grip.

(e) Changes in level
Avoid small changes in level whenever possible, such as in doorways, consider installing ramps or some other way of providing easy and safe access. If this is not possible, use signs to warn workers to be aware of the change in level.

8. Although every problem can be solved quite simply, in practice it is not easy because site conditions are continually changing. Always keep inside and outside work areas adequately lit.

9. It is therefore essential that site managers exercise good control and that every workers takes responsibility for ensuring that the way they do his work does not create a risk for others, for example by leaving training cables across corridors or leaving waste materials in stairwells.

10. Make sure every worker knows what he need to do to manage his own materials, waste and equipment to keep the work area tidy and reduce the risk of tripping.

Figure 1 Key Aspects

Figure 1: Key aspects of slips and trips in construction site.

Further reading:

1. On slips and trips

2. On safe places of construction work

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