Slips, Trips & Falls in Schools

Why do slips and trips matter

Slips and trips are the most common cause of injury at work – and the most reported injury to members of the public.  They can lead to both minor and major injuries – and sometimes fatal accidents from head injuries following a fall from height, where the underlying cause was a slip or trip.

Slip and trip accidents in education premises happen for a number of reasons.  They typically involve:

  • Running or carrying heavy or awkward items
  • Poor Lighting – particularly where there are uneven surfaces and changes of levels
  • Wearing unsuitable footwear for the activity
  • Obstructions – particularly bags and trailing cables
  • Contamination – both from wet surfaces (caused by water/rain) and slippery surfaces (caused by contaminants eg food, litter, leaves)

Seasonal Slips and Trips

At this time of year there are a lot more slip hazards outside the school due to the season, for example:

  • Falling leaves in the yard and on footpaths
  • Rain or ice leaving a wet or slippy surface for all people using the area


Slip and trip incidents are preventable – they are not inevitable. Most solutions are simple and low cost.

  • Slip and trip accidents are often linked to cleaning regimes. Cleaning can create slip and trip hazards, especially for those entering the area being cleaned. A good management system will help to identify problem areas, establish sensible cleaning regimes to help reduce the risk of slips and trips.
  • Footwear can play an important role in preventing slip incidents. Some staff eg kitchen personnel may need slip resistant footwear supplied as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Lighting is important – Poor lighting can obscure, while excessive light can cause glare and can again obscure hazards.
  • During the autumn and winter ensuring that your facilities team have a plan to clear paths from leaves and ice.
  • Education – talking to the children in the school about the benefits of taking care and being aware of the ground conditions.

More information can be found at the HSE website or contact the ProFire team on 0191 516 6106.

Other posts you may be interested in…