This checklist and guidance may help employers eliminate or reduce the risks of slips, trips and falls under 2 metres.
Slips, trips and falls under 2 metres in internal and external workplaces.
Slips, trips and falls can place employees at risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs include sprains, strains, fractures and soft-tissue injuries. They can occur suddenly or develop over time. More information about MSDs is available in WorkSafe's Hazardous manual handling compliance code.
Employers have a duty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) to provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to health, so far as reasonably practicable. This obligation requires employers to eliminate risks to health and safety, so far as reasonably practicable. If it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate risks, employers must reduce those risks, so far as reasonably practicable.
Employers must also consult with employees and any health and safety representatives (HSRs), so far as reasonably practicable, when identifying risks and providing risk controls. Consultation should include discussions about how employees will perform their work, making sure that risk controls do not create new hazards. WorkSafe has guidance on consultation, including consultation with HSRs.
Slips, trips and falls checklist
The following checklist may help employers meet their legal duties to eliminate or reduce the risks associated with slips, trips and falls under 2 metres.
WorkSafe has separate guidance which explains the risks of working at heights above 2 metres and may help prevent falls.
Use the following checklist to:
assess the risks associated with slips, trips and falls under 2 metres
list possible solutions
Consult with any HSRs when assessing the tasks and introducing risk control measures. Where possible, make sure consultation involves employees who do the tasks.
Risk control measures
The checklist provides general guidelines only. You must control any risk you find, so far as reasonably practicable. As well, arrange for regular workplace inspections, paying particular attention to:
floors, stairs and lighting
housekeeping, including general cleanliness and cleaning methods
variations in conditions according to time of day and year. For example, rain, cloudy days or night/day
personal protective equipment (PPE)
Keep a copy for your records
The Preventing slips, trips and falls under 2 metres checklist is also available as a downloadable PDF for printing. Employers should print, complete and retain a copy of the checklist for their records.
The following information describes common hazards associated with slips in workplaces and suggests risk control measures that may help employers eliminate or reduce risk of slips in the workplace.
Common slip hazards
Check off any slipping hazards present in the workplace. If you find risk of an injury due to a slip, you must control that risk, so far as reasonably practicable.
inappropriate floor surfaces
for example, deep carpet in high-use trolley areas, surfaces that become slippery when wet, expanded mesh flooring or steps
rainwater or mud near doors
wet floors from cleaning during work hours
spills on floors
for example, food and liquids in meals areas, spilled products, spills and leaks around oil reservoirs, ingredients or chemical granules, machinery spills or metal shavings, oil stains in undercover carparks
sudden changes in floor surfaces
for example, from carpeted showroom to polished timber storeroom, sheet vinyl counter area to tiled kitchen, concrete workshop to terrazzo office, loose granular outdoor ground surfaces to steel decking
growths on floor surfaces
for example, moss on external pathways, mould on laundry or bathroom floors
for example, wearing high-heel shoes on stepladders when accessing stock in shops or wearing leather-sole shoes in a freezer
The following solutions may help employers to eliminate or reduce the risk of slips in the workplace. Check off control measures already implemented in the workplace. Implement controls not already in place, so far as reasonably practicable.
install floor surfaces that reduce risks of slips from water and other liquids, grease or dust on the floor
clean floors outside working hours
use slip-resistant products on stair treads, ramps and other hazardous walking or working surfaces
put anti-slip mats at entrances
use drip pans and guards where spills might occur
clean machinery spills according to the spilled product's Safety Data Sheet (SDS)
have systems in place to reduce risks when changing products that can spill and create hazards
regularly clean and maintain floor and outdoor surfaces
install suitable drainage
choose floor surfaces that ensure non-slip conditions when moving from one floor surface to another
treat floor surfaces to create slip resistance
keep outdoor surfaces free of leaves, mud, clippings, paper and gravel and remove moss, mould or slime
ensure employees wear suitable footwear appropriate to the task
ensure ramp gradients do not exceed 1:8
ensure ramps are slip-resistant with foot grips or textured surfaces
ensure employees are aware that pushing or pulling trolleys can increase slip risks
provide appropriate trolleys and training
provide handrails and midrails as well as kickrails at least 100mm high on both sides of ramps to prevent trolleys running off edges
The following information describes common hazards associated with trips in workplaces and suggests risk control measures that may help employers eliminate or reduce the risk of trips in the workplace.
Common trip hazards
Check off any trip hazards present in the workplace. If you find risk of an injury due to a trip, you must control that risk, so far as reasonably practicable.
damaged floors, including broken tiles and worn floor coverings
uneven floor surfaces
poorly marked or unexpected changes in floor or ground levels
poorly maintained access routes
uneven or loose paving
poorly maintained footpaths and garden edges
equipment and goods stored in aisles and walkways
personal items stored around workstations
for example, handbags, briefcases, backpacks, gym bags
low obstacles where employees walk
for example, empty pallets, items protruding from the floor, extension cords
untidy work areas
for example, the height difference between the loading dock and floor of a truck, the gap between the loading dock and a truck, slippery and uneven metal dock plates
for example, flattened cardboard cartons, mats with turned-up edges, unsecured mats at entrances, loose floor mats
steps and stairs
steps or stairs with different riser heights or tread depths
poor lighting, particularly on steps and stairs
lack of handrails on steps and stairs
employees slipping when entering or exiting vehicles
for example, truck cabins, forklifts, ride-on mowers, mobile cleaning equipment
grates and covers over floor openings
pets and animals
The following solutions may help employers to eliminate or reduce the risk of trips in the workplace. Check off control measures already implemented in the workplace. Implement controls not already in place, so far as reasonably practicable.
regularly review and maintain damaged or uneven floor surfaces
regularly review and maintain external access areas
provide dedicated storage areas for items such as cleaning goods, trolleys and equipment
provide adequate storage racks
do not block walkways
ensure aisles and passageways are free from clutter at all times
provide lockers or storage for personal items
remove or establish barriers around low obstacles
ensure appropriate cleaning procedures
remove or guard items that may catch clothing
use dock levellers or bridge plates when transferring materials from docks and trucks
ensure metal dock plates have grip surfaces and that dock plate edges are smooth with no sag
use slip-resistant mats
ensure slip-resistant door mats are secure or large enough to remain in place
use a non-slip bullnose finish on steep or slippery steps and stairs
ensure steep stairways are only for secondary access and have sturdy handrails both sides
ensure steps and stairs have adequate foot space, even tread and riser dimensions and suitable radius on nosing
provide handrails on steps and stairs
ensure vehicle cabins have steps and handgrips which provide 3 points of contact for hands and feet at all times
ensure vehicle steps are non-slip with adequate foot space
ensure vehicle handgrips allow people to use a power grip
if lighting is inadequate on steps and stairs, increase lighting and highlight stair nosing
ensure landings have sufficient space for doors to fully open without striking anybody
eliminate isolated low steps, if practicable
highlight isolated low steps
ensure employees do not carry loads by hand on stairs
if not possible, ensure the load is small and light enough to carry in one hand to the side of the body
use lifts where possible
use only stair-climbing trolleys on stairs
install barriers to separate pedestrians from mobile plant and vehicles
ensure permanent aisles, passageways and emergency exits are appropriately and clearly marked
ensure safe clearance for walking in aisles where powered mechanical handling equipment operates
ensure sufficient headroom for the length of aisles and walkways
repair and maintain damaged grates or covers
ensure grates or covers do not require employees to alter walking patterns to step over them
treat the surface of grates or covers to improve their slip resistance
ensure pets and animals are secured or isolated. for example, have owners lock pets away when employees are working at domestic premises
The following information describes common hazards associated with falls under 2 metres in workplaces and suggests risk control measures that may help employers eliminate or reduce the risk of falls under 2 metres.
Part 3.3 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations) applies when there is a risk of a fall of more than 2 metres.
WorkSafe has guidance which explains the risks of working at heights above 2 metres and may help prevent falls.
Common fall hazards
Check off any fall hazards present in the workplace. If you find risk of an injury due to a fall, you must control that risk, so far as reasonably practicable.
using inappropriate step stools
for example, using chairs and overturned milk crates or other crates as step stools
damaged chairs or seats
using chairs with standard castors on vinyl floors
high stools without foot rings or a place to support feet
unstable high stools or high chairs
office chairs with a base that has fewer than 5 points in contact with the floor
situations where it is necessary to jump or step down to lower levels
unstable or inappropriate ladders or steps
for example, chairs used as ladders, straight ladders used on smooth surfaces, straight ladders used to reach stock
using ladders as work platforms
using ladders or steps incorrectly
for example, reaching too far to either side, standing on the top rung, using ladders on uneven floor surfaces, using an unsecured rung ladder
The following controls may help employers to eliminate or reduce the risk of falls under 2 metres. Check off control measures already implemented in the workplace. Implement controls not already in place, so far as reasonably practicable.
remove and replace or repair damaged chairs
on floors that have smooth, hard surfaces such as concrete timber or vinyl, use only chairs that have glides or castors with brakes
use chairs with standard castors only on carpeted surfaces
ensure employees use adjustable chairs with 5-point bases for tasks that require prolonged sitting
ensure high stools have foot rings
ensure stock, materials or displays are not stacked above shoulder height
ensure employees use appropriate ladders, steps or stairs to climb or move down levels
ensure ladders and steps are stable or secured when in use
ensure ladders or steps are well maintained and have non-slip feet and treads in good condition
ensure employees use ladders correctly
ensure people on ladders do not carry items and that small items are suspended in a tool belt
use a forklift or other mechanical lifting device to place large items into storage
ensure the tops of ladders are securely attached to a secure structure
ensure makeshift materials are not used to stabilise ladders on uneven floors
Once it is determined there is a risk of MSD, employers must consider whether environmental conditions increase the risk. Environmental conditions include:
cold and wind
slippery and uneven floor surfaces
Environmental conditions can increase the risk of an MSD by affecting employees' muscles, nerves and blood vessels and increasing fatigue.
The following information outlines common hazards associated with slips, trips and falls in workplaces due to environmental conditions and offers solutions which may help employers.
Common environmental hazards
Check off any environmental conditions present in the workplace. If you find risk of an injury due to an environmental hazard, you must control that risk, so far as reasonably practicable.
poorly lit work areas and walkways
sudden changes in lighting levels between areas
badly directed lighting
working in cold rooms or freezers
working in wet conditions. for example, a plant nursery
working in hot or humid conditions. for example, a smoke house
The following solutions may help employers to eliminate or reduce the risk of environmental conditions causing slips, trips and falls under 2 metres. Check off control measures already implemented in the workplace. Implement controls not already in place, so far as reasonably practicable.
use appropriate lighting levels
for example, 80 to 240 lux, for general areas such as loading bays and areas not regularly in use
provide graduated lighting between areas
ensure vehicles stop and that drivers have adapted to lighting levels before they enter areas where there may be pedestrians
ensure pedestrians cannot enter vehicle traffic areas if the pedestrians have not adapted to lighting levels
direct lighting so it does not create distracting shadows on steps, stairs or other walking surfaces
ensure the direction of lighting does not makes it difficult for pedestrians and mobile equipment operators to see
check employees are not exposed to environmental conditions that may affect their behaviour or performance
for example, heat, cold, chemicals or electricity
The occupational health and safety (OHS) risk management process helps employers to eliminate or reduce the risk of MSDs associated with hazardous manual handling, so far as reasonably practicable. The risk management process involves hazard identification, risk assessment, risk control measures and monitoring, reviewing and, where necessary, revising risk control measures.
Effective management of health and safety hazards also involves training, consultation, documentation of health and safety activities and regular review of the management system. For more information about risk management, see WorkSafe's guidance, Controlling OHS hazards and risks.
Systems to help employers eliminate or reduce the risk of trips, slips and falls under 2 metres include:
identifying the risk of slips, trips and falls under 2 metres and putting risk control measures in place, in consultation with employees and their HSRs
providing reporting processes so safety issues can be identified and controlled as soon as possible
scheduling and recording regular inspections and maintenance of all areas of the workplace and all equipment
providing employees with information, instruction, training and supervision in relation to work procedures and the use of equipment and aids
Low water absorption and good resistance to chemicals. Slippery in wet conditions if smooth but can be moulded with aggregate or profiles to improve slip resistance. Cleaning may require special cleaning equipment such as high-pressure water spray because a build-up of grease or dirt can make the tiles ineffective.
Suitable for kitchens where hot spills might occur, shower rooms, toilets and similar. Requires frequent cleaning.
Easy to clean. Use sheet form where washing is required to avoid water getting under tiles. Slippery when wet, particularly if polished, however slip-resistance vinyl with moulded aggregates is available.
Suitable for light industrial environments, corridors, hospital wards. Not suitable where hot spills are likely.
Tends to be slippery when wet or oily, particularly when worn.
Suitable for factory areas with very heavy traffic or to span openings in floors. Usually has a raised pattern, for example, chequer plate, which provides some slip resistance but may cause problems with moving trolleys, pallet jacks or other wheeled mechanical aids
Carpet has shorter life than a hard floor surface but it can be a cost-effective solution in many cases. Installation should be wall-to-wall to avoid the hazard of tripping on edges. When used in small local areas, such as entrances, it should be installed in a recess in the floor.
Suitable for corridors, offices and areas where quiet is a high priority and spills unlikely. However, carpets of synthetic materials may be used in entrance areas to absorb water and dirt, exterior areas and bathrooms.
This product can have grit particles moulded into the upper surface to provide very good slip resistance. Fluids quickly drain away.
Suitable for factory areas where fluids are unavoidable, and for overhead platforms and walkways.
Floors need greater friction or adhesion to increase their slip resistance. Slip-resistant footwear is one strategy, treating the floor is another.
If an existing floor creates a risk and it is too expensive to install new flooring, it is possible to apply a floor treatment. The cost of treatment varies considerably and it is a good idea to do a cost analysis, particularly if the treatment does not significantly improve the quality of the floor.
Successful treatments are those that substantially increase the surface roughness of the flooring. The surface may not look as attractive following treatment and cleaning methods may need to change.
For wet conditions, flooring material or treatment should continue up the walls to at least 75mm. The continuation between the floor and the wall should be rounded to prevent fluids getting under the edges. This will reduce cleaning and drying time.
Make sure sheet flooring, such as vinyl, is welded to prevent water seeping through and to allow more thorough cleaning.
Applicable to all flooring: Mineral-coated adhesive strips are useful for localised slip hazards such as stair treads and ramps. However, they wear quickly and should be considered a temporary solution or be replaced regularly.
Applicable to concrete, clay pavers, steel plate and timber. A range of base materials is used, including acrylics, flexible polymers, polyester resin, vinyl ester resin and epoxy resin. For the best slip resistance, the coatings will include aggregate such as rubber particles, silica sands and silicon carbide granules. These treatments can be tailored to the application, depending on the level of chemical, traffic or slip resistance needed. With the right aggregate, slip resistance under oily conditions is possible.