We get to see many buildings of different sizes, uses, locations and ages and often wonder why the basic risks are too often overlooked. Is it because the risks of slips, trips and falls are not really understood, is it because people are too busy to worry about the housekeeping or maybe because the look is more important to the client?
Obviously it can be any of the above and numerous other reasons can be added to the list and all require some degree of thinking or effort to make the workplace safe. Unfortunately in so many workplaces the thinking about the risks is at best a secondary consideration. It remains a fact that slips, trips and falls account for around one third of all reported serious injuries in the workplace.
In truth its widely understood that for many slips, trips and falls go unreported as often there is no injury and people are too embarrassed to enter a report; as long as they haven’t been seen what harm has been done! The harm is not reporting and therefore the failure to attempt to fix the problem; or go back to the risk assessment to look at what controls are not in place or not working properly.
In the business we were in recently the importance had been placed upon the look at the feel of the workplace; the directors had wanted bare floors and rugs as it fitted the character of the building. Unfortunately a combination of slippery floors and loose rugs we pointed out are a recipe for a future accident. It wasn’t a matter of changing the look just a need to add in a few extra controls to make the workplace safe; this was an easy fix yet had been overlooked until pointed out to the directors.
We can all at times overlook things that may present risks so it’s important to spend a little time going back through our risk assessments and carrying out regular workplace inspections to make sure the obvious is not being ignored.