As part of the Sliptember campaign, our founder, Christian Harris, has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, The Rt Hon Thérèse Coffey MP, to call for annual slip testing to become a legal requirement.
The content of the letter can be found below:
Addressing the £1bn+ crisis, affecting millions each year, of slips-and-falls
Dear Dr Coffey,
Each year in the UK, 300,000+ people attend A&E after a slip-and-fall accident. This results in over 1.5m NHS bed days. In most sectors, slips-and-falls are the largest cause of accident, injury and insurance claim to both employees and members of the public. AXA Insurance alone spends £80m on slip accident insurance claims each year, suggesting the total UK claims costs exceed £1bn. But, as HSE points out, “hidden”, uninsured costs of accidents can range from 8-36x the insured costs – hitting companies’ bottom lines directly.
Not to mention the huge human costs. With hundreds of thousands of people injured, this impacts on millions of Britons each year. Whilst many slips are less serious, 90% of serious slips result in broken bones; there are around a dozen amputations each year after a slip; serious brain injuries are common; and deaths happen too. For example, I personally became involved in the case of Stanley May, who tragically passed away after slipping in a Co-Op store in Truro in 2015.
And yet, in spite of the statistics, the legislation around slips is woefully lacking.
In other areas of safety where legislation is more robust, we have succeeded in minimising accidents and harm. The scores of people who suffer as a result of slips each year deserve the same. After all, slips and falls is trending upwards as a percentage of accidents, not downwards.
There is a straightforward method of testing the slip safety of floors called a Pendulum Slip test. It is used by the HSE and in court cases. It has a British Standard. It is not expensive to do: around £500 is the going commercial rate.
In the context of the average insurance claim costing £10,000 plus the uninsured and human costs, plus the cost to taxpayers, £500 a year to ensure that a commercial or public buildings’ floors are safe strikes me as a sound investment.
Using this test is, in my decade plus of experience of dealing with slip safety, the only way to truly ensure a robust slip safety risk assessment. Without this data, all people can do is assume. This superficial approach is one of the drivers of continued high prevalence of incidents. To do this testing is reasonable, it is practicable, it is sensible.
I write to you, therefore, to request that annual Pendulum Slip Testing is made a legal requirement, just as fire safety checks, for example, are.
Throughout September 2021 I will be running a campaign called “Sliptember” to raise awareness of this issue. As part of this, I will be seeking people to sign a petition to support this idea.
Whilst it was not a slip, I have suffered a serious accident that was not my fault: I was run over when walking down a pavement by a car that lost control in 2012. I know all to well how much an accident beyond your control can shatter your life. The biggest cause of this in the UK is slips and falls.
I would welcome your feedback on how I can help you to move this important and much-needed initiative forward.