School operations

Slips, Trips and Falls


The purpose of this policy is to outline the Occupational Health and Safety requirements in schools for reducing the risk of slips, trips and falls.


  • The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 2004 (Vic) requires the Department, so far as is reasonably practicable, to provide and maintain for employees a working environment that is safe and without risk to health.
  • The principal and/or their delegate (as the local management representative) must lead a systematic approach to manage the prevention of slips, trips and falls using the Hierarchy of Controls.
  • The principal and/or their delegate must promote awareness for all employees in the prevention of slips, trips and falls by ensuring that all employees complete the Department’s Slips, Trips and Falls eLearning module.
  • Under the OHS Act 2004, employees while at work must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and the safety of others who may be affected by their actions or omissions.
  • Central and regional offices provide a range of supports and services to assist principals and employees to be safe and well, including access to the OHS Advisory Service and local regional officers who can provide free advice on managing risks related slips, trips and falls.
  • The Slips, Trips and Falls Procedure must be followed, and sets out the practical step-by-step instructions for implementing this policy.
  • This Policy forms part of the Department’s OHS Management System, see OHS Management System (OHSMS) — Employee Health, Safety and Wellbeing for further information.


The principal and/or their delegate in consultation with Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) and employees must ensure that:

  • slip, trip and fall hazards are identified (e.g. by scheduling workplace inspections)
  • assess the risks associated with these hazards (if necesary)
  • implement and maintain risk control measures
  • review the risk control measures


Slips, trips and falls
Slips occur when a person’s foot loses traction with the ground surface due to inappropriate footwear or walking on slippery floor surfaces that are highly polished, wet or greasy.

Trips occur when a person’s foot catches on an object or surface. In most cases people trip on low obstacles that are hard to spot such as uneven edges in flooring, loose mats, open drawers, untidy tools or electrical cables.

Falls (under two metres) can result from a slip or trip but many occur during falls from low heights such as steps, stairs and curbs, falling into a hole or a ditch or into water.

Hierarchy of Controls
There are a number of ways that risks associated with hazards can be reduced however, the effectiveness of each method may vary. The prioritising of approaches in managing the risks associated with a hazard is called the hierarchy of controls and indicates the decreasing level of effectiveness of various approaches. The hierarchy of controls are:

  • eliminating the hazard at the source
  • substituting the hazard with something else that poses a lesser risk
  • isolating the hazard with an engineering control
  • implementing administrative controls and changing the way work is done
  • providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Often a number of different approaches are used in conjunction with each other to provide a more effective risk control.

Relevant legislation

Department policy on safety requirements for reducing the risk of slips, trips and falls in schools

Reviewed 26 February 2021

Policy last updated

15 June 2020


  • Schools
  • School councils


OHS Advisory Service

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