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Slips, trips and falls

Note: The information on this page has been adapted from Safe Work Australia material.

Slips occur when a person's foot loses traction with the ground surface, trips occur when a person unexpectedly catches their foot on an object or surface. Falls may result from a slip or trip but many occur during falls from low heights or into a hole, ditch or body of water.


Slips and trips result in thousands of injuries each year with the most common injuries being musculoskeletal. Cuts, bruises, fractures, dislocations and more serious injuries also occur.


Using a hazard identification and risk management process the hierarchy of controls can mitigate risks involved with slips, trips and falls at every level. For example;

Hierarchy of ControlExample
Eliminate the hazardRemove slip and trip hazards at the design stage such as eliminating changes in floor levels and installing more power outlets to avoid trailing cords
SubstitutionReplace flooring with a more slip-resistant surface
IsolationPrevent access to high risk areas, for example cordon off wet floor areas while cleaning is in progress
Engineering controls (redesign)
  • Apply floor treatments to increase slip resistance
  • Improve lighting
  • Stop leaks from equipment or pipes
  • Provide adequate drainage
  • Clearly mark edges of steps and any changes in floor heights
Administrative controls
  • Implement good housekeeping practices including keeping access ways clear and cleaning up spills promptly
  • Use signage to warn of wet or slippery areas
  • Provide training and supervision
Personal protective equipmentWear slip-resistant footwear


Information sourceContents
Safe Work Australia – Model Code of Practice – How to Manage Work Health and Safety RisksThis code provides practical guidance for persons who have duties under the WHS Act and Regulations to manage risks to health and safety
Safe Work Australia - Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces Model Code of PracticeRisk management strategy for mitigating the risk of falls at workplaces
Safe Work Australia – Slips and trips at the workplace fact sheetSpecific risk management information on slips, trips and falls in a workplace
Safe Work Australia - Preventing Falls in Housing Construction Model Code of PracticeRisk management strategy for mitigating the risk of falls in Housing Construction
UK Health and Safety Executive – Slips and Trips webpageGeneral risk management information on slips and trips in the workplace


Information sourceWhat it contains
Incident notification - Part 3, Section 35 to 37 of the Work, Health and Safety Act 2011The legislative requirements for incident notification to Comcare
Comcare - Guide to incident notificationHelps you decide whether you need to notify Comcare of an injury, illness or dangerous incident under the WHS ActThe legislative requirements for incident notification to Comcare
Page last updated: 31 Mar 2016