Injuries on commercial premises don’t always involve big dramatic events. In many cases, injuries result from seemingly mundane things, like tripping over a mat or slipping on a polished floor. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of slips and trips in the public areas of your business premises, and how using professional commercial cleaning services can make a positive difference to safety.
Why slips and trips can be serious
Slips occur when a person’s foot loses traction with the floor. Tripping is when a person catches their foot on an object, obstacle or uneven surface. Slips and trips are by no means innocuous incidents, especially if they result in falls. Falls can cause a number of injuries from cuts and bruises to more serious sprains and even broken bones or head injuries.
Preventing slips and trips
Risk management in any business is basically the same for all types of events. It involves the five basic steps of:
- Identifying hazards.
- Assessing the risk level.
- Taking risk control measures.
- Recording incidents.
- Reviewing and refining procedures as required.
Hazards are those things in an organisation that can cause harm. In the case of slips, this might include liquid spills, wet floors, or dirt or sand on floors or carpets.
Trip hazards might include cables in walking areas, buckled floor coverings, loose mats, boxes or other obstacles, uneven surfaces, or changes in floor levels such as in a split-level building.
Once hazards have been identified and the risk of injury has been assessed, it’s important to take steps to reduce the risk. This might involve elimination of the hazard. In some cases, total removal is not practical and reduction of the risk through substitution or isolation is more appropriate. Examples of this include:
- Elimination – a cable that is causing people to trip is removed from walking areas.
- Substitution – an adhesive non-slip mat is put down in a slippery area to prevent slips.
- Isolation – people are prevented from accessing an area until a spill has been cleaned up and the floor has dried, or until a broken step has been repaired.
Other control measures might include improving lighting and visibility, promptly cleaning up spills, taking steps to reduce liquid spills, making edges of steps more visible, and putting up warning signs such as a ‘slippery floor’ sign when a floor has just been cleaned.
It’s important to record every incident that occurs from hazards, even if it seems relatively minor. This information can come in useful for assessing risks later on.
The review step involves going over your safety records and refining your risk controls where necessary to improve health and safety.
The importance of cleaning
Keeping your commercial premises clean can also go a long way towards reducing the risk of accidents. Professional commercial cleaning services can remove residue from spills on tiled or polished floors, and they also use industrial equipment for the removal of dirt, dust and debris from carpets. And since the cleaning is done after hours, you reduce the risk of anyone coming in and slipping on wet floors.
Make sure to get your business premises cleaned regularly to reduce the risk of accidents, and to improve your workplace’s general cleanliness and hygiene.