Over a third of all major injuries reported each year are caused by a slip or trip at work.

In the construction industry, that means several thousand workers suffer injuries every year, around a thousand of which involve fractured bones or dislocated joints.

While some injuries are minor, those which are more serious can result in workers facing months of pain and medical treatment, hospitalisation and potentially having to give up working in the construction industry altogether.

But here’s the thing: Most of these type of accidents can easily be avoided!

With good site management, an awareness of the rules around tidiness and housekeeping, workers being committed to sensible practises that meet those rules, and everyone generally taking responsibility, the construction site can be a much safer place.

Responding to this ongoing problem, the Health and Safety Executive are pushing out their ‘See it, Sort it’ campaign which aims to encourage those working at all levels in the industry to do their bit to reduce/eliminate the risk of slips and trips.

As well as visiting sites specifically to look for tidiness/housekeeping issues that can often cause such incidents, the HSE have issued this guidance on the positive action people can take on site:

  • Keep storage areas tidy.
  • Plan deliveries to minimise the amount of materials on site.
  • Ensure footpaths are safe to use: levelled if rutted, stoned if muddy, gritted when icy.
  • Make sure that all corridors, stairways, footpaths or other areas used by pedestrians are kept clear of obstructions at all times.
  • Tie up loose cables, particularly along corridors.
  • Make sure that steps into site cabins are properly constructed.
  • Make sure work areas are kept as tidy as possible while the work’s going on.
  • Put barriers around, or covers over, all holes and excavations into which people could fall.
  • Have a system in place to manage the waste created on the site.
  • And most importantly, make sure that everyone knows what they have to do.

LArge waste container on construction siteWhen it comes to waste management, the guidance also suggests you ask yourself the following questions in relation to your site:

  • Whose job is it to clear up the waste? How often?
  • Are bins provided? How many? Where? Who by?
  • Whose job is it to empty the bins? Where to? How?
  • Whose job is it to make sure the waste is removed from the site?

Emphasising the point that everyone has a role to play in keeping the site in good order, Dave Jordan (a Construction Inspector with the HSE) said:

“It doesn’t matter what your position on the site is. You can make the place safer. Don’t just SEE something that can trip someone up, SORT IT.”

Sheriff Construction has issued the guidance to all its foremen who, though ‘Toolbox Talk’ training, are making sure everyone knows what they should be doing to prevent trips and slips.

Read more about this issue in the ‘Watch Your Step’ information booklet from the Health and Safety Executive here.


Image source: Freepik