Human Resources

Health and Safety

Accident prevention

The three most common causes of industrial accidents in Britain are slips trips and falls, falls from working at height and manual handling.

During the period August 2010 to July 2011 there were 184 recorded accidents at the University of Portsmouth. Of which:

  • Slips trips and falls were the cause of 22 (12%) accidents
  • Falls from working at height were the cause of 1 (0.5%) accidents
  • Manual handling was the cause of 29 (15.8%) accidents

The other main causes of accidents were chemical and sharps injuries 20 (10.9%) and Sport 55 (29.9%).

Slips trips falls (on the level)

Slips and trips are the most common - These are the most common cause of major injuries at work and can happen almost anywhere. In the UK Slips and trips result in 2 deaths a year, and over a third of all reported major injuries. Slips, trips and falls cost employers over £1/2 billion a year in lost production and other costs.

Advice on preventing slips and falls is given in Technical Guidance Note WP01: Slips, trips and falls.

Falls from working at height

A place is 'at height' if a person could be injured falling from it. It does not necessarily mean working above ground level but is applicable when work activities could lead to a fall causing injury. It excludes slips, trips and falls on the level or permanent workplace stairs.

Each year in the UK 58 fatalities are attributed to falls from height, 60% occur in the construction industry.

Advice on safe working at height can be found on the working at height page.

Manual handling

Manual handling involves the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving of a load. This includes pulling on a rope or lever, as well as directly handling the load. Bad manual handling techniques cause injury. Almost a third of all industrial injuries are caused by manual handling accidents and estimated 1.1 million people in Britain suffer from work-related musculoskeletal disorders including those caused by manual handling. An estimated 12.3 million working days are lost, at a cost to society of £5.7 billion through work-related musculoskeletal disorders.


Advice on safe working with chemicals can be found on the chemical safety page.

Further information

Technical Guidance Note - WP01: Slips, Trips and Falls [Acrobat (.pdf) - 85.7KB Tue, 10 Jul 2018 12:00:00 BST]