Norwich Union highlights the dangers of slips, trips and falls

Article date: 31 March 2008

Norwich Union is warning that 38%1 of all major accidents involve slips, trips and falls, amounting to nearly 11,000 serious injuries in the workplace every year.2

To coincide with the HSE's latest campaign, ‘Shattered Lives,' Phil Grace, liability risk manager for Norwich Union, says that by taking a few simple steps, businesses can help to reduce these incidents, which can often be debilitating and permanent.

And as part of Norwich Union's ‘Simply Safety' campaign, a downloadable guide is available at advising trades on how to reduce slips, trips and falls in the workplace.

"By paying attention to equipment used in the workplace, monitoring behaviour and the environment, serious incidents can be avoided, " says Grace.

According to Grace, flooring has a significant impact on the risk of slipping. "The floor surface should be suitable for the type of work being carried out. Non-slip surfaces can be installed in the first instance, when buildings are being constructed, or added during upgrades or renovations.

"If a floor surface cannot be kept dry, it should be sufficiently rough so that people have less chance of slipping, regardless of any liquids that may be on the surface. Preventing liquid escape, fixing leaks and cleaning up spills can also help reduce slips and trips."

The HSE reports that 50% of all trips are caused by bad housekeeping. Grace advises that keeping walkways free from tools, equipment and other similar objects would eliminate a large number of accidents.                        

"Workers should make sure walkways are clear, with no trailing cables, hoses or other obstructions. Keeping floors tidy and ensuring you have enough bins and storage space to put goods away can also help."

"Other issues such as low lighting, icy conditions or rain water walked into the workplace can all lead to injuries, so it is vital to identify and reduce these risks. For the latter, good sized mats fitted at the entrance to the building could minimise the risk."

Another key factor influcencing the number of slips, trips and falls is footwear. "You may not always be able to control footwear, for example pedestrians coming into a shop, but you can make sure employees - including those who work outside or in wet areas and cold stores - have suitable footwear," advises Grace.

Making sure employees have a sensible attitude to health and safety can also reduce the number of accidents. 

"Behaviour can result in many serious slips and trips. For instance,  when people run, the risk is increased. Training people in safe behaviours and monitoring them to make sure bad habits do not return is key to controlling risk," he concludes.

A course detailing basic health and safety principles for small businesses - ‘Getting Started', is available from Norwich Union Risk Services (


For further information, please contact:
Alex Anderson at Staniforth on 0161 919 8021 or Sally Leeman at Norwich Union on 01603 684225/ 07800 699670.    

Notes to Editors

  • Norwich Union is the UK's largest general insurer with a market share of around 15%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.
  • It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest Financial Adviser (FA) providers.  FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.
  • Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva's internet press centre at

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