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The Cost of Slips, Trips, and Falls to British Industry

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The Cost of Slips, Trips, and Falls to British Industry

Are slips, trips, and falls costing your business dearly? Is your workforce underperforming? Are you missing expertise on the floor due to personal injury in the workplace? It could be time to consider how to mitigate the risks of slips, trips, and falls by installing appropriate matting and flooring.

According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), slip and trip accidents cost UK employers over £500m yearly. That's from lost production time; product or plant damage; loss of expertise — the figures stack up and up and up.

This article explores how you might mitigate against the risks of slips, trips, and falls in your workplace, ensuring that your workforce remains safe, happy, and willing to contribute their talents to the continued success of your operation.

Are you sitting comfortably (and safely)?

Let's begin. 

The costs of slips and trips in the workplace

Slipping, tripping, or falling in the workplace has many repercussions that cost individuals, employers, and society dearly. 

The cost to individuals is effectively incalculable because there's more than straightforward pain to deal with after a workplace accident. 


When an individual injures themselves in the workplace, they face a potential loss of income from lost overtime and statutory sick pay (if that's all they can get). 

But there's also the pain that can lead to a negative (albeit temporary) impact on quality of life. This is often compounded by the worry and stress from being unable to work. 

The cost to an individual is more than monetary—it includes both a 'human' and a 'financial' element.

What does 'human' cost refer to? In addition to financial costs, employer's liability insurance payouts can compensate for the ‘human costs’ of an injury—this refers to the quality of life losses.

For example, the average fatal injury costs an employee £214,300 (e.g., in lost wages) but an additional £1,203,000 in 'human' costs (e.g., the quality of life impact on the deceased's family).

The data below outlines the average costs to employees associated with Workplace accidents and illnesses.

Costs to Employees of Workplace Accidents and Illnesses Human Cost Financial Cost Total Cost
Fatal accidents £1,203,000 £214,300 £1,417,000
Non-fatal injuries £5,300 -£130 £5,200
7 or more days absence £19,700 -£660 £19,000
Up to 6 days absence  £330 £50 £370
Ill Health £9,700 £400 £10,100
7 or more days absence £20,000 £730 £20,730
Up to 6 days absence  £360 £90 £450
Source- NimbleFins


The visible costs from workplace injuries arise from insurance costs and the potential for litigation. But there are a plethora of hidden costs, including:

  • Production delays
  • Workforce shortages 
  • Costs of temporary labour and training
  • Expertise deficit
  • Clerical effort and investigation
  • Fines


We often forget that workplace injuries lead to a drain on the NHS. The HSE calculates the price of workplace trips and falls as over £800m a year, with costs to the NHS of £133m each year.

These arise from:

  • Loss of economic productivity and output
  • Social security costs
  • The drain on the NHS

It’s time to take slips, falls, and trips in the workplace SERIOUSLY

These workplace injuries result in many ailments, from straightforward bruising to life-changing spinal and head injuries. 

Injuries such as bruising don't always prevent employees from attending work, but they often result in reduced productivity while the individual heals. Slip, trip, and fall accidents can take just a few days to recover, while more severe injuries could require long-term treatment and support. 

And the most frustrating thing about these workplace injuries is that they’re often avoidable. 

Most Common Workplace injuries

When looking at workplace accidents causing non-fatal injury to employees. Slips, trips or falls are the 2nd most common type of workplace accident in Great Britain, accounting for an estimated 19% of all work injuries (18% of self-reported injuries to LFS data. 

8 Most Common Non-Fatal Workplace Injuries in 2021 Labour Force Survey (LFS) RIDDOR Average Percentage
1. Injured while handling, lifting or carrying 118,00 13,940 20%
2. Slipped, tripped or fell on the same level 104,00 20,022 19%
3. Hit by moving, flying, falling object 48,000 7,089 8%
4. Physically assaulted by a person 46,000 5,422 8%
5. Contact with moving machinery 44,000 2,615 7%
6. Fell from a height 39,000 5,296 7%
7. Hit something fixed or stationary 23,000 2,451 4%
8. Injured by an animal 12,000 648 2%
Other Kinds of Accident 138,000 8,557 23%
All accidents combined  582.000 69.208 100%



Workplace injuries lead to litigation.

If an employee slips, trips, or falls in your workplace, you’re likely to be liable — your employee could claim compensation for out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of their injuries. 

Out-of-pocket expenses arising from personal injury could be:

  • Property damage
  • Loss of earnings
  • Travel expenses (if they can no longer drive)
  • Medical expenses

Preventing slips on steps and stairs

Most accidents are preventable with appropriate high-grip flooring, especially in wet or icy working environments, such as factories or building sites.

For example, anti-slip stair nosing helps maintain a safe working environment on steps and staircases by providing outstanding grip and high visibility for workers and visitors navigating your building. 

And nosing can be installed over your existing floors, steps, and stairs, offering a super-affordable way to keep everyone safe. 

>Make sure you opt for anti-slip performance in wet, dry, and oily conditions — look out for slip testing to R13, in accordance with BS 7976-2:2002. 

Where can you install anti-slip flooring?

Anti-slip flooring should be a consideration for all public spaces wherever there’s potential for accidental injury, including:

  • Around town centres — on public footpaths, steps, and entrances
  • Education centres and libraries
  • Travel hubs — train stations, bus stations, taxi ranks, airports, etc. 
  • Leisure centres (especially those with swimming pools)
  • Internal and External stairs — in public and private housing, exhibition centres, etc. 

The problem of wet floors

Any floor can become wet, either due to weather conditions, spillages or in work environments that require the presence of liquids, such as food preparation areas and factory floors. 

You can mitigate SOME risk by highlighting hazards as they happen with appropriate Health & Safety caution signage. But more permanent solutions require industrial matting that helps drain liquids away from the floor while providing secure footing in environments that can't remain dry. 


The problem of workplace fatigue

Not all workplace slips, trips, and falls result from wet floors; fatigue is a serious issue in hazardous workplaces. Working environments that require employees to spend extended periods on their feet often see accidents through a lack of attentiveness caused by tiredness. 

Anti-fatigue mats effectively minimise the pressure of standing by cushioning the feet just enough to offer both support and stability. The soft underfoot texture helps improve blood flow by encouraging small muscle movements in the feet, ankles, and legs that help maintain attention while boosting energy.  

Slips caused by machine swarf

Swarf catch mats help trap machine swarf, which can cause slips on unprotected floors — keeping the workshop environment cleaner and safer. 

The waffle pattern helps keep scraps of metal, wood, and plastic away from shoes — keeping the debris underneath the mat until it can be removed and swept away at the end of the shift. 

Rubber swarf mats are often suitable for both wet and dry environments and offer versatile protection and anti-fatigue cushioning. 

Clean away spills promptly

Liquid spillages can be challenging to clean quickly, especially oil or fuel. And often, caution signs just aren't enough to keep your workforce safe. 

Wherever oil is spilt, you need an effective cleaning regime that quickly removes the slippery covering from your floors. 

So, arm your workplace with oil spill kits that respond quickly to hazardous spillages. A typical oil spill kit includes absorbent materials for mopping up liquids and cleaning chemicals that cut through grease, rapidly making the floor safe to walk on. 

Don’t leave yourself open to litigation

The personal injury sector has grown exponentially over the past twenty years, and there's an ever-growing body of people seeking compensation for avoidable workplace accidents. This costs UK workplaces millions of pounds each year. Of course, the most effective solution to slips, falls, and trips is prevention. 

So, ensure that you mitigate the potential for accidents with reasonable workplace adjustments such as high-visibility, high-grip flooring that helps employees feel safer and more alert in the workplace. 

Do you need some advice?

You’re probably thinking about how you can protect your workforce from slips, trips, and falls. 

Get in touch - we'll be thrilled to help you build a safer environment with First Mats products, designed to provide long-lasting quality and safety for all budgets. 


Richard O'Connor's Headshot

Richard O'Connor is a Director at First Mats. He has deep knowledge in areas like Manufacturing, Warehousing, Marine, and Health & Safety. Richard's insights have been featured in well-known publications such as Bloomberg Business, The Sun, and Reader's Digest. His blend of industry expertise and passion for sharing makes him a sought-after voice in his fields.

Contact Richard