No. 1 Injury Type – Slips, trips and falls

Almost all industries rank slips, trips and falls as one of their top two workplace injury categories. Slips, trips and falls in the workplace often result in the injured worker needing to take time off and/or reducing their capacity to perform their job.

To help prevent slips, trips and falls, start by setting up a basic health and safety system in your workplace. See Accident Compensation Corporation’s ‘ACC366 How to implement safer workplace practices’ which offers guidance on this topic.

Once a health and safety system is in place you can use the Discomfort Pain and Injury Contributory Factors model to help you look at the issue of slips, trips and falls more holistically.

For example, you could consider the effects of poor housekeeping systems, production pressures, the ageing work force and operational decisions. Contributory factors act in combinations and tend to influence each other.

Early reporting
Encourage workers to report near misses, near hits and incidents sooner rather than later. A near miss report is an opportunity to prevent an actual accident happening in the future.

It allows you to identify the factors that contributed to the near miss and do something to reduce or resolve them. Ensure workers have easy access to health and safety information and know how to submit a report. Let them know that reporting is an important way for them to help keep each other safe at work.

When a report is made, take appropriate action to resolve any problems you find. Ensure any hazards identified are entered into your Hazard Control Register.

Management response
If an injury incident does occur use the following process:

  1. Apply first aid as necessary and get medical assistance if required.
  2. Ascertain the seriousness of the injury
  3. Look for opportunities for injured workers to stay at work. Promote work-based recovery whenever possible.
  4. Keep in contact with the injured workers if they are off work and implement a return-to-work plan.
  5. Investigate and remedy all contributory factors associated with the incident, not just the obvious ones.