Identify Spill Risks to Control Slips (Trips and Falls)

A slip on the level by a pedestrian has three critical risk factors

Slip factors

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From 2015 to 2016, 24% of over 2,000 HSA workplace visits found the employer had not identified or tried to identify sources of potential spills (for example, liquids, granular material, food).

The rate was higher in Manufacturing (29%), Healthcare (29%), Retail (26%) and Construction (25%)

  • Analyse previous slips to identify any particular issues
    • Use the Mapping tool designed to help identify areas where slips, trips and falls have happened and also where slips and trips are more likely to happen
    • Consider asking staff if they are aware of any problems or if they have slipped in the past
  • Identify sources of liquid. e.g. equipment using water/ liquid, wash-up, showers, cleaning store, toilets, grapes, flowers, plants, deep fat fryers
    • Include self-service drinks areas, walk-in chiller and freezers, liquid containers, liquid too close to the front of shelves, small fruit and vegetable items and flower displays
    • Don't forget hanging baskets
  • Viscous liquid spills can be much more hazardous. As the viscosity of a likely spill increases, the surface roughness required increases
  • Ensure you consider all solid/ semi-solid material, e.g. granular washing powder, inserts from newspapers magazines, desiccant sachet contents, etc.
  • In 2009, the Slip STD Consortium proposed a classification for hard floors based on foreseeable contamination

In this video (6 min 7 sec), Steve Thorpe from HSL demonstrates pendulum slip resistance results of a dry floor, a wet floor and a “cleaned” floor

The Napo animated video "Cold case" (59 seconds) shows the hazard from a leaking pipe

This video (1 minute, 1 second) shows an animated slip on an oil spill with real-life video removing an oil spill.


risk assessment approach to Spills slips (trips and falls) can include the following steps

  1. Identify Risks
  2. Prevent
  3. Contain
  4. Detect
  5. Cordon
  6. Remove