Simply Safety - Do not underestimate the risk of slips and trips in the manufacturing sector, urges Aviva

Article date: 19 April 2011

With more than a fifth of all injuries in the manufacturing sector last year the result of a slip or trip1, Aviva is urging businesses to ensure proper health and safety procedures are in place to ensure employees work carefully and safely.

The advice, as part of Aviva’s Simply Safety campaign, follows the latest statistics which show that in 2009/10, 2.4 million working days were lost in the manufacturing industry due to workplace injury and work-related ill health2.

Phil Grace, liability risk manager at Aviva, said: “Last year, 25 workers were killed and more than 4,000 seriously injured in the manufacturing sector in the UK3, with a slip or trip the cause of 21% of these incidents4.

“A slip or trip may seem like a minor incident, but there is the potential for serious injury. Aviva’s own claims data for 2010 shows that, across all industries, slips and trips accounted for one in eight of all large loss claims (those in excess of £125,000)5, with the most significant and costly injuries to the back, head and wrists. The most serious cases resulted in an inability to return to work.

“The cost of slip and trip accidents can be significant. The Health and Safety Executive reports of a safety manager at an East Anglian food processing and packing plant who estimated that one incident where an employee sustained a broken elbow had cost the business £2,000 in lost time6.

“The particular difficulty with slips and trips is that it is impossible to predict the results of the accident, which could range from a small bruise to a serious head trauma, or whether the effects of injuries will last for a few days or many years.”

Slips and trips accidents commonly occur in manufacturing production areas and are often caused by housekeeping issues such as badly placed pallets, uneven ground or strapping trailing from packages. Accidents can also be caused by slips on water, oil and ice, as machinery leaks or substances used in manufacturing are spilt.

Grace continued: “With the manufacturing sector now growing at a fast pace7, it is more important than ever that health and safety is front of mind to prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace.

“Employees should be trained to look out for potential problems such as exposed cables across walkways, and managers should foster a culture in which spillages, leaks and incidents are recorded.

“Business owners should also conduct thorough risk assessments to identify slip and trip hazards, considering if there are suitable controls in place, such as a proper systems for cleaning floors and, if necessary, laying more slip resistant floors with higher surface roughness.

“In particular, employees should be encouraged to swiftly report concerns to managers as fast action can reduce the risk of an incident. An investigation by the HSE found that furniture wax falling onto the floor as products were transferred around a pine factory was behind an accident where an employee slipped and cut himself on a machine that was not properly guarded. This injury could have been prevented by mopping up the spills quickly and also ensuring that machinery was properly maintained8.

“The safety of employees should be of paramount importance to all businesses, but it is also worth remembering that accidents cost money and result in reputational damage – both of which could impact adversely on a firm’s performance. The controls needed to reduce the risk of slips and trips are not necessarily complex or expensive to implement. Businesses must not underestimate the importance of proper housekeeping.”

To download the Simply Safety factsheet visit:




3 See reference 1

4 See reference 1

5 Aviva’s claims data for 2010

6 PDF (805KB)


8 See reference 6

If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Sally Leeman : Aviva Press Office 
01603 684225 : 07789 270677

Jenny Mason : Staniforth
0161 919 8035 : 07709 347953  

Notes to editors:

Aviva is one of the world's largest insurance groups* with 53 million customers worldwide and 46,000 employees.

Aviva’s main activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance, with worldwide total sales of £45.1 billion and funds under management of £379 billion*.

In the UK, Aviva takes care of its 19.2 million customers by helping them look after their future, protecting what’s important – from their health to their homes, their cars to their business – and saving for the future.

Aviva has a 10.5%** share of the UK life and pensions market and insures one in six homes and one in 10 cars in the UK. It is also one of the oldest UK insurers, with a heritage stretching back more than 300 years.

RAC, which is owned by Aviva, provides breakdown and insurance services for individuals and businesses and has around seven million customers.

Aviva is carbon neutral worldwide, and is ranked in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally by the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. In the UK, Aviva invested £3.8 million into local communities in 2009. Read our corporate responsibility report at

Aviva’s global Street to School programme is working in partnership with Railway Children in the UK to get children living on the streets back into education and everyday life. Find out more at

The Aviva media centre at includes images, company and product information and a news release archive.

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*based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2009

**Source: ABI data released August 2010

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