Network Rail says it has paid out almost £1 million in compensation for slips, trips and falls at its stations across the UK in just five years. What can be done to limit similar risks in your own business?

Costly mishaps

Network Rail says it has processed 290 successful claims for compensation over the last five years following slip, trip and fall incidents at the 20 stations it manages across England and Scotland. The statistics, revealed via a Freedom of Information request by the BBC, show that Network Rail paid out a total of £951,360 in compensation over the five-year period ending in 2019.

How does Network Rail measure up?

Network Rail hasn’t done too badly given the number of people using its facilities every day. The prevention of slips and trips is an elusive goal, especially for facilities which are heavily used and partly open to the weather.

Slips, trips and falls are the largest category of accidents in the workplace, so you need to exercise vigilance to ensure that the risks are minimised.

Safety first

This type of accident occurs as a result of unintended or unexpected changes in the contact between feet and the surface or ground below them. The best way to reduce their likelihood is to ensure good maintenance and housekeeping procedures are in place.

Tip 1. Enforce a “see it, deal with it” policy, i.e. if staff discover a hazard which may cause injury such as a wet floor, they should take appropriate action immediately to resolve the issue.

Tip 2. Provide staff with instruction so that they are aware of your strict policy and know how to deal with spillages or report maintenance concerns. (Download a free Slips and Trips Safety Briefing by registering for our website.)

Tip 3. Ensure equipment needed for cleaning and clearing walkways is readily available, along with appropriate signage to warn members of the public if there is a risk of slipping.

Tip 4. Although a wet floor sign is a good idea, you should do what you can to ensure that only dry floors are accessible to members of the public. This might mean simply dry mopping after wet mopping so that the floor dries more quickly.

 Ensure that floors are well maintained and kept in good order. Enforce a “see it, deal with it” policy, making all of your staff responsible for prompt action in the event of spills and obstructions which could cause accidents.