2. Identifying and assessing slip, trip and fall risks and hazards
Many causes of slips, trips and falls can be identified by being observant and vigilant of the surrounding environment. If a slip, trip or fall hazard is identified, it should be reported to the principal and/or their delegate.
Common hazards include but are not limited to:
- students sitting on the floor
- school bags left in foot traffic paths
- spills of liquid and wet cleaning methods such as mopping
- a sudden change in floor surface, for example joins between carpet and tiles
- change from wet to dry surface or dusty and sandy surfaces
- surface and incline of ramps, including those that go over kerbs and thresholds
- loose or bumpy flooring
- worn floor coverings or broken tiles and cracks in floors
- door mats not fastened to the ground, may have curling or tucked edges
- changes in floor level, thresholds, and doorstops
- electrical cords, computer cables, floor sockets and phone jacks
- chairs not pushed under tables
- sporting equipment, arts supplies and other educational aids being stored on the floor
- potholes, loose gravel, gutters and carpark bollards.
Other contributing factors include:
- inclement weather
- low light levels
- unsuitable footwear
- carrying loads that obstruct vision, such as books or boxes
- inattention or becoming distracted, such as using a mobile phone
- changes to the way a space is used, such as the gym hall being used for exams, rearranging desks in a class room
- inadequate provision of safe access for people with special needs or disability.
Regular workplace inspections must be undertaken by the principal and/or their delegate to identify slips, trips and fall hazards that need to be resolved.
Once risks are identified, following the risk management procedure and conducting a risk assessment is a practical way of considering the likelihood and severity of slips, trips and fall hazards and risks and appropriate controls (using the hierarchy of control). As part of the risk assessment consideration should be given to:
- how many people are exposed
- the consequences of the slip or trip – a slip or trip with or without a fall can be more serious if it occurs near hot, sharp or moving objects, or at a height, such as near stairs
- how often the situation occurs.
The OHS Advisory Service and regional OHS support officers can provide advice on preventing and managing slips, trips and falls, including completing a risk assessment. WorkSafe Victoria also provides guidance to completing a risk .
Reviewed 15 January 2023