School operations

Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention


This policy:

  • outlines the health, safety and wellbeing requirements relating to the prevention and management of slips, trips and falls in schools
  • supports the implementation of the department’s leadership commitment to health, safety and wellbeing (PDF)External Link .


Slips, trips and falls can place employees at risk of injury including sprains, strains, fractures and soft-tissue injuries.

This policy does not cover situations that involve working at heights of 2 metres or above (measured from the soles of your feet to the ground) or circumstances where a person could fall into a hole, trench or pit. Refer to the Prevention of Falls when Working at Heights policy for this information.

Roles and responsibilities in preventing slips, trips and falls

Under the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 2004 (Vic)External Link , managing the risk of slips, trips and falls is a shared responsibility between the department, the principal and/or their delegate and school employees.

  • The department must maintain, so far as is reasonably practicable, a safe and healthy working environment for employees to avoid injuries from slips, trips and falls while working.
  • The principal and/or their delegate, in consultation with the health and safety representative (HSR) and employees, must identify, assess and control the risks that are associated with slips, trips and falls.
  • School employees must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and the safety of others who may be affected by their actions or omissions while at work, which includes managing slips, trips and falls.

Safety is a shared responsibility, and everyone including students has a role to play.

Key requirements for schools to prevent and manage slips, trips and falls

Schools must:

  • consult with school staff and HSRs to identify, manage and prevent slip, trip and fall hazards
  • identify slips, trips and falls hazards through observation, workplace inspections and incident reports
  • assess new or complex hazards using a risk assessment
  • report and manage incidents when they occur
  • ensure that staff undergo appropriate training
  • incorporate slips, trips and falls risk prevention into an ongoing management approach that promotes health, safety and wellbeing.

The Slips, Trips and Falls Procedure (in the Procedure tab) contains detailed, step-by-step information about how schools can meet these key requirements.

Department supports for schools

Central and regional offices provide a range of supports and services to assist principals and employees to be safe and well. These include access to the OHS Advisory Service and regional OHS support officers who can provide free advice in relation to managing slips, trips and falls.

Slips occur when a person’s foot loses traction with the ground due to unsuitable footwear or walking on 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 2 metres) can result from a slip or trip but many occur during falls from low heights such as steps, stairs, and curbs, or falling into a hole, ditch or water.

Relevant legislation

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

Reviewed 24 June 2022

Policy last updated

24 June 2022


  • Schools
  • School councils


OHS Advisory Service

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