Slips and trips the main workplace risks
One in five people who slip and trip at work are absent for over a month, according to the Health and Safety Authority.
The authority has just issued a new guide for employers to try to eradicate these accidents since they account for just under half of all awards against employers by the Injuries Board.
"Falls can be fatal. Slip, trip and fall accidents account for about one in five of all accidents reported to the HSA and are the second highest cause of accidents.
"They are preventable and everybody has a role to play," says the authority.
A survey by the Authority also says that half of the workers who took part believed it was their company's responsibility, not their own, to prevent slips and trips.
The new guide, entitled Get A Grip, points out that employers, senior managers and workers all have responsibilities to control risks from trips and falls.
It recommends that employers should track incidents, carry out a workplace risk assessment and commit resources to prevention.
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work had said: "Slips, trips and falls are the largest cause of accidents in all sectors, from heavy manufacturing through to office work."
Accident risks are higher for those employed in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), particularly for those in enterprises with less than 50 employees.
It advocates the use of simple control measures to reduce risks.
These include safety signs, personal protective equipment, ensuring sufficient natural light and that floors are fixed, stable and level and have no bumps or holes.
A new code of practice for working in confined spaces has also been introduced by the authority and it took effect from last Monday.
It stipulates that where workers have to enter an area which is likely to contain a toxic or harmful substance or have insufficient oxygen levels, the area must be monitored and the worker must be watched at all times with measures in place to ensure the worker can be helped immediately when it is needed.