Slips, trips and falls. A common phrase used within Health and Safety. Now if you ask most employers they will say “but surely preventing these is just common sense”, well yes to a degree you might be right, however that doesn’t omit the need for formal policies and practices to prevent and manage it. Accidents happen, and you need to be prepared to handle them.

As I type this very blog I am doing so with one hand. Why?

Well, three weeks ago I was at home, in a scene that most parents will be familiar with, I was feeding our 10-month-old baby on the bed, it was 10pm, he had been screaming for what felt like hours and no matter how much he rubbed his little eyes, he would just not give in. He finished up his bottle, cuddles up, twirled his little chubby hands round my hair and eventually dozed off (wahey!). Now, in full ninja mum mode, I slowly and carefully stood up, tiptoed over to the cot and placed him down, pulled his blanket over and then went to make my escape.

BANG, the next thing I know I was flat on the floor.

There are two things I though in that moment, and I’m not going to lie, the first was actually “f@%K I woke the baby!!” (apologies, I considered writing the filtered version but opted for the honest one instead) and secondly “Hold on a minute, this is actually really sore”. By this point dear hubby had somehow manged to part with his dearly beloved fantasy football team and rushed up to check I was ok, my older daughter was also standing over me somewhat distraught at my mangled arm.

Fast forward 4 hours of waiting in A&E (on a Friday night may I add), the x-ray results were back and I have a broken elbow and a ruptured tendon in my wrist/hand.

What did I fall over . . . A pillow. Yes, you read that right, a pillow that had knocked off the bed and now here I was, cast and sling and 6 weeks out of action.

The point of this story is showing you just how easily a trip can happen and just how detrimental it can be. Imagine for a moment that this happened within your workplace? A rogue wire, a cushion, someone’s jacket or bag, a lose floorboard or banister? How would you cope if someone got seriously hurt?

I speak to employers all the time who will argue that “my employees would never sue me”, really? How can you be sure? In a world of claims culture, employees will at the very least be tempted when a personal injury claim is dangled in front of them. Not only this, but how would you cope if that person was then unable to work? Would you know what reasonable adjustments to make or how to cover their duties whilst they were off?

As an employer you should make sure that all necessary steps have been taken to avoid slips, trips and falls within your workplace to protect your employees and your clients.

If you are wondering whether health and safety would be useful to you, then ask yourself the following:
– Do I have a first aider on site?
– Am I aware of riddor?
– Do I have all appropriate signage?
– Do I have an accident in the workplace log book?
– Have I got a health and safety manual?
– Do I know how to risk assess?

If you have answered no to any of these then you may want to consider some Health and Safety support from trained professionals who can help you prevent accidents but also manage the aftermath with sound HR practice.

Protect your staff, protect your business, and watch out for those pesky pillows.

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