Risk management: Common trip hazards and how to avoid them.
25 February 2016
Risk management: Common trip hazards and how to avoid them.
Building sites are busy and often messy places. There are plenty of hazards to trip over or slip on.
So how do you manage the risks of trips and slips?
Tell everyone to take care? That’s not enough.
Many tradespeople are injured each year by a trip or slip on a building site. But most of these accidents could be avoided by the effective management of working areas and access routes.

What are the common trip hazards on a building site and how do you avoid them?

Common trip hazards on a building site include:
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Obstacles
  • Trailing cables
  • Wet or slippery surfaces
  • Changes in level
Here are our top tips to avoid trip hazards and stay safe on your building site. You might also want to check out Health & Safety at Work Act. Are you ready? for further info on your H&S responsibilities.

How to avoid tripping on uneven surfaces

Here are 3 easy ways to manage your risks:
  • Define clearly designated walkways that are well lit and with good conditions underfoot
  • Ensure everyone wears suitable footwear with a good grip
  • Use mechanical lifting aids rather than carrying unwieldy loads that block the view ahead.

How to avoid tripping over obstacles

This is all about getting and staying organised. Here are 3 great tips:
  • Ensure everyone keeps their work and storage areas tidy (good housekeeping)
  • Plan deliveries to minimise the amount of materials on site
  • Designate areas for waste collection, providing bins where needed and making clear the responsibilities for waste removal.

How to avoid tripping over trailing cables

Cords and cables are a tripping hazard that’s easily avoided. Use cordless tools where possible or where cables are needed, run them at high level, especially along corridors.

How to avoid slipping on wet or slippery surfaces

The best course of action here is to either cover or block the slippery surface.
  • Treat slippery surfaces with stone (for mud) or grit (for ice) or provide temporary covering such as Ovaboard.
  • Cordon off any slippery areas
  • Signpost any slippery areas and make sure footwear with a good grip is worn.

How to avoid trips due to changes in level

Where you can’t avoid small changes in level, such as in doorways, consider installing ramps. If you can’t do this, use signs to warn workers to look out for the change in level.

Personal responsibility

Everyone can make a contribution to reducing slips and trips on site. If you see a risk, sort it, or report it to someone who can.
Involving all staff can help identify problem areas and increase the reporting of ‘near misses’. Everyone can make a contribution to reducing slips and trips.
This pearl of wisdom brought to you by Ovaboard. Ovaboard temporary floor protection provides a non-slip, non-trip hazard surface (and also protects floors while you work). Learn more about us.
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