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Many a Slip
Published:  01 March, 2011

Slip, trip and fall incidents in the workplace cost 40 workers their lives last year and cost society an estimated £800m each year, according to the Health and Safety Executive.
HSE figures show that slips and trips are the most common cause of major workplace injury in Britain. More workplace deaths are triggered by falls from height than any other cause, according to official statistics.
In addition to 40 fatalities, there were over 15,000 major injuries to workers, as well as over 30,000 workers having to take over three days off work.
As well as the tragic human cost, preventable slips, trips and falls are having a serious financial impact on the UK. The HSE estimates that the combined financial costs incurred by society as a whole is around £800m a year, at a time when both businesses and individuals are struggling financially during the current recession.
In response, the HSE is launching a new phase of its Shattered Lives campaign, aimed at reducing slips, trips and falls in the workplace. The hard hitting campaign involves raising awareness of the impact of slips, trips and falls in the workplace and directs people to the new Shattered Lives website (www.hse.gov.uk/shatteredlives) for practical advice and guidance.
The campaign is targeted at those sectors where there are a high number of incidents each year, specifically: health and social care, education, food manufacturing, food retail, catering and hospitality, building and plant maintenance, and construction.
On the new campaign website, businesses can find out information on how they can easily, and cost effectively, reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls in the workplace, and see what other organisations, such as Sainsbury’s and First Line Digital, have done. Included on the site is an online tool called STEP and a work at height access equipment toolkit called WAIT. Advice available on the website ranges from how to deal with spills and other slip risks, to the importance of using ladders correctly to reduce the risk of falling from height.
Peter Brown, head of the HSE’s Work and Environment Division, said: “These figures highlight the very real and serious nature of preventable slip, trip and fall incidents in the workplace. Slips, trips and falls might sound funny but they shatter the lives of thousands of British workers ever year.
“Making improvements doesn’t need to cost the earth and we are encouraging people to visit the Shattered Lives website, where they will be able to get simple and cost effective solutions to help manage slips, trips and falls hazards in their workplace.”
And TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber added: “Every one of the 40 deaths caused by slips, trips and falls preventable. The key is proper risk assessment and control measures as highlighted by the HSE. Unions will warmly welcome this practical hard-hitting campaign and will be raising the issue with employers wherever and wherever they can.”