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The 3i approach to slips and trips

November 3, 2013

By Wayne J. Harris  – International Health and Safety Practitioner

Slips and trips are the most common cause of injury at work in many industries around the world and in many cases account for over 40% of all incidents reported. They are often the cause of major injuries resulting in long-term absence which may have a major impact on individuals and society in general.

The solutions to address slips and trips are often simple and low-cost to implement. Yet companies fail to address it correctly. By following the measures described below they will certainly help you in implementing an effective program to reduce slips and trips within your company.

3i Slip and Trip Identification

Slips Trips and Falls ISQEM




What is important is to look at slips and trips as a very distinct hazard identification process that you need to tackle very carefully. The assessment process does not need to be complex or quantifiable with score ratings that most people never understand. It needs be what we call a very simple 3i approach.

  1. Identify the slip trip hazards
  2. Identify who will be at risk,
  3. Identify the appropriate control measures

Identify the hazards in your workplace that may lead to slip or trip injuries and who will be at risk. Then decide on suitable and effective control measures which will prevent accidents occurring.  Just remember do not use generic assessments in your decision-making process as they quite often fail to address real local issues.

Prevention Methods to Prevent Slips and Trips

ISQEM Hierarchy of hazard controls

Once you have completed the 3i assessment you may need to implement control measures and in addition communicate to employees what is required of them as individuals at work.

For instance you might have identified power cables from hand power tools are the main cause of tripping incidents. So a simple safety control measure could be adopting the use of battery-powered tools and eliminating the use of cables. This would result in total removal of the hazard and risk.

One prevalent cause of slips and trips is wet or slippery floor surfaces in office buildings.  Now this may need to be professional assessed as to the cause of the slipperiness and treated accordingly. For example the use of non-slip cleaning materials or water catchment mats at main entrances to the office building.

Communication and Awareness

Communication ISQEM

There are many methods that you can use to communicate including, toolbox or safety briefings, safety posters, to lessons learnt from incidents that may have taken place. The method you use to maintain awareness will depend on workplace location, your employees and others who may be at risk. Just make sure that you review regularly and change and adapt your control measures as necessary.

Remember any slips and trips campaign you run needs to be a long-term strategy in order to maintain awareness. If you tackle this correctly you will drastically reduce your incident rates and insurance compensation payments


Click link for PDF Copy: The 3i approach to Slips and Trips


About the Author.

Wayne J Harris Health and Safety

Wayne is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems.  He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management for over 30 years.



One Comment
  1. Rick Lewis permalink

    Wayne you done it again. Great article which makes people think and address slip and trips with a very easy process.

    You should write a book on health and safety Wayne, I will definitely be amongst the first to buy.

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