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D) Slip Injuries and the Consequences...

This section answers questions relating to slip injuries and their consequences.


If you want to ask more specific questions, or if something is not covered below, then please contact us.


D1) When someone slips, do they always land on their back?

D2) Why do people land on their back?

D3) What are the most common injuries associated with slips?

D4) Do other types of injuries occur?

D5) How serious is the problem of slipping?

D6) How does it affect employers or owners of buildings to which the public has access?

D7) As an employer/building owner, what will a slipping accident cost?

D8) If a floor is slippery, is a replacement the only way to overcome it?


D1) When someone slips, do they always land on their back?

The majority of people who slip over do indeed land on their back or on their bottom on the floor after a slip. They may land on their side if they twist during the fall.


On a very slippery floor it is possible for the foot or feet to slip sideways so that the person lands sideways. It is very rare for a person to fall forwards, although one cannot say that it never or cannot happen. A forward fall is usually symptomatic of a trip.

D2) Why do people land on their back?

People usually land on their back because the critical phase in walking is when the heel of the leading foot hits the ground and needs restraint to prevent it moving forwards. If that restraint cannot be provided by friction, the heel will slide forwards and the person will slip.


The net effect is that the person’s legs accelerate forwards relative to the upper part of the body, which results in the bottom part of the torso (i.e. the hips) moving forwards slightly faster than the shoulders. This causes the upper part of the body to be inclined backwards as it falls due to the lack of support from the feet.

D3) What are the most common injuries associated with slips?

The most common injury is to the lower back and in particular to the coccyx at the bottom of the spinal cord. Wrists and arms sometimes get injured because the person tries to save themselves, and may try to prevent their head from hitting the ground by using their arms to absorb the shock.


Older people, especially ladies, are particularly vulnerable due to having more brittle bones. Hence, fractured hips and femurs can easily result from such a fall.

D4) Do other types of injury occur?

Recent work by the UK Health & Safety Laboratory has discovered that a huge number of industrial accidents were in fact initiated by a simple slip. However, due to the way accidents are reported, this significant fact is often omitted from the report or only mentioned in passing. Thus, the main cause of the injury, for instance ‘stabbed themselves with a knife’ (when they fell on the floor) or ‘caught their hand in machinery’ (when they put it out to save themselves) or ‘scalded by hot oil’ (when they grasped and pulled over a deep fat fryer as they were falling) are the ones which feature in the statistics.

D5) How serious is the problem of slipping?

Unfortunately, slips are reported in the same category as trips and falls. It is thus not possible to be precise about the numbers involved, but it is believed that slips represent by far the majority of accidents reported in that category. Slips, trips and falls account for 33% of all reported major workplace injuries, 20% of over 3 day injuries, and 50% of all reported accidents to members of the public. A recent estimate suggests the cost to industry is over £500 million each year.


The UK National Health Service statistics suggest that result of slips is several times more costly in terms of bed occupancy than, for instance, road accidents, and costs the NHS many £millions each year to treat the victims.

D6) How does it affect employers or owners of buildings to which the public has access?

As an employer, you have a duty under the Workplace Regulations Section 12 to ensure all access routes (any part of a floor over which people are likely to walk) are safe, which includes not being slippery.


Under the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations you may well find that you will need to assess whether your floors constitute a risk. You are required to take reasonable steps, e.g. by reading HSE guidelines, the trade press, etc., to familiarise yourself with the hazards and risks in your employees’ work (see Approved Code of Practice para 9). Slipping is a possible hazard affecting all employers. How do your floors stand up? (excuse the pun!)


As the owner of a building to which the public has access, there is also a legal duty of care. In recent months, Environmental Health Officers and HSE Inspectors have become far more active in the field of slipping and are investigating reported slipping accidents and even checking floors (with SlipAlert) that they think might be a problem.

D7) As an employer/building owner, what will a slipping accident cost?

There are several costs associated with an accident. Whilst the main cost of any compensation claim by the victim may well be covered by your insurance, the fact of that claim will almost certainly be reflected in future premiums - insurance companies are not fairy godmothers!


The most costly item is likely to be your management time and that of your staff in dealing with the claim. There will be time taken in making statements, discussing the legal aspects of the claim with solicitors, and attending Court if it goes that far. It will add up to several days work - days when you could be doing something far more profitable for your business.

D8) If a floor is found to be slippery, is a replacement the only way to overcome it?

The answer is sometimes ‘yes’ and sometimes ‘no’. There are ways of overcoming the situation, even if the Local Authority has issued an improvement order. You do, however, need specialist advice for the particular circumstances, and in that respect our sister organisation, Radlett Consultants, may be able to help.






A) Questions about SlipAlert

Reliable? Unique? Independently tested? Easier than the Pendulum?

B) Questions about the Physics of Slipperiness

Why do people slip? Water and other contaminents? Friction? Pressure?

C) Questions about Measuring Slipperiness

How can I measure slip resistance? Is it different in the wet?

D) Questions about the Consequences of Slip Accidents

How serious is slipping? What injuries are caused?


Floor maintenance is an opportunity to reduce slip accidents an effective cleaning regime that you can easily manage that also reduces slip accidents save money on floor maintenance save money on your cleaning without sacrificing floor safety save time monitoring an effective cleaning regime Save Time when purchasing, specifying, installing a new floor Slips can be a big headache for H&S managers, now you can save time and enjoy easy ways to improve floor safety SlipAlert helps many aspects of operations management and that can save you time and avoid needless operations headaches Using SlipAlert to check new floors will save you time and money and will reduce slip accidents SlipAlert can save you money and reduce the headaches that slips cause for Operations Managers Save money and implement more effective H&S policies that reduce slip risk SlipAlert can help you to improve floor maintenance, improve floor safety and reduce costs saves you money when specifying, buying or installing a new floor Helping Ops managers to reduce slip risk,  reduce slip accidents and reduce slip injuries Helping H&S managers to raise awareness of slip risks and implement effective policies that reduce slip accidents new floor: save time, save money, prevent slip accidents SlipAlert saves you time with new floors, floor maintennace, H&S, Ops, and floor maintenance floor safety home

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You have a legal duty of care to your customers and staff.

Check your floors regularly with SlipAlert.



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