Almost every business is exposed to potential slip and trip risks – no matter if you’re running a café, bookshop or a busy licensed establishment. With the pending lift of the controversial Sydney lockout laws, late night venues will need to be mindful of the risks attached to customers staying into the early hours of the morning.
Usually, businesses for which slip and trip risks are most serious, are those operating in areas where there's a lot of foot traffic, such as those located in shopping centres.
There’s even the risk of home-based workers such as nannies suffering slips and trips, with employers liable for managing these threats.
“There’s often debris or other items on floors that could contribute to these risks. So it's a matter of good housekeeping to reduce the potential for someone to slip and trip in your home or on your business premises. This involves regular cleaning and inspecting,” says Michael White, Steadfast’s broker technical manager.
For businesses, in particular, keeping a record of these activities is also vital, he says.
“It’s not enough just to clean areas where a trip or slip is likely. It’s also essential to keep a record of how you have addressed these potential risks. So it’s really important to have a process in place to monitor problems.
“If you're operating a business in an area where there's going to be food debris, it’s also important to have a system in place to promptly clean up spills.”
It was once the norm to implement paper-based systems for recording procedures used to clean up areas where there is high foot traffic such as toilets. But, like most aspects of doing business, this is now going digital.
For instance, there’s now some apps to help aged care workers manage trip hazards in their workplace. This helps to reduce the risk of residents suffering falls, which is something of which older people and their carers need to be aware.
Indeed, using technology to record the procedures around managing slip and trip risks, and to also log when slips happen and steps that are taken to clean up spills, is becoming increasingly common among forward-thinking businesses.
The idea is to ensure there are formal, written guidelines for staff to follow when a spill or trip occurs. It’s also advisable to use digital tools such as iPads to record when public areas such as hallways, toilets and corridors have been cleaned and cleared of any trip hazards.
It’s also essential to ensure the business has the right cover in place such as public liability insurance. This ensures that, in the event of a claim, you’re properly protected.
With an aging population and an increasingly litigious society, businesses that are focused on managing their slip and trip risks, and ensuring they have sound procedures and record keeping around this, put themselves in the best possible position to reduced these risks.