The Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) has developed a unique rating system which helps to determine the slip resistance of footwear, specifically in the workplace. The system, called GRIP, is designed to give health and safety managers and in fact anyone in charge of risk assessment and health and safety in a company to have a gauge against which to measure their occupational footwear. The hope is the system will help reduce the number of slip injuries in the workplace as employers will be able to source the right footwear for their environment.
The GRIP scheme has been designed to be easy to use and follows a basic star rating system which focuses on the most important features of footwear for the workplace, ensuring the chosen product is right for the environment in question. They have published their 2015 ratings on the HSL website for employers to access.
There are standards already in place for employers when it comes to slip resistance but they are not specific enough and do not challenge the footwear. Passing the standard for slip resistance doesn’t guarantee a particular type of footwear will prevent slips in your specific workplace. The GRIP scheme is designed to ensure employers can identify footwear which will help to reduce slips in their particular environment and the scheme will also help footwear manufacturers who can develop products for specific occupational markets.
The HSL still assert that all businesses should carry out their own risk assessments to ensure they are aware of the likelihood of slips in their environment. Their star rating scheme rates each type of footwear on scale of one to five. One to two star footwear is recommended in low-hazard environments whilst employers in environments where slips are known to occur should opt for three to four star footwear. The five star footwear options are designed for the most challenging workplaces and with the right risk assessments in place employers should be able to focus on ensuring they source the right footwear for their environment.
Slip Injury Statistics
Slips, trips and falls remain the leading cause of major injuries in the modern workplace. The latest statistics for the UK show that 56% of all major industries that occurred in the workplace in 2013/14 were slips, trips and falls and 29% of all over 7-day injuries were also in the same category. Estimates from the Health and Safety Executive suggest that 2 million working days every year are lost due to slips, trips and falls and from an employer’s point of view, if you can be found negligent there is risk of compensation claims as well as the costs of covering the loss of an employee.
The GRIP scheme is an example of help and guidance for employers, giving them no excuse not to ensure their employees are appropriately protected against slip injuries. Employers have the tools available to them to get things right and therefore, the number of injuries in the workplace should fall.