Slips, trips and falls

  • You don’t have to be high off the ground for a fall to cause significant injury or death. Falls can occur in many different ways including through slips and trips, or falls from height, at level, or into holes or voids.  

Each year slips, trips and falls cause thousands of preventable injuries  in the agriculture industry.

The most common are musculoskeletal injuries, cuts, bruises, fractures and dislocations but more serious injuries can also occur..

Slips occur when a person’s foot loses traction with the ground surface.

Common agricultural slip hazards include muddy stock yards, animal dung, wet or snow-covered ground and the use of unsuitable footwear.

Trips occur when a person unexpectedly catches their foot on an object or surface.

Common agricultural trip hazards include uneven ground,  potholes, branches, untidy farm tools, cables from electrical equipment or trips caused by moving around in low light.

Falls can result from a slip or trip but many also occur during falls from low heights such as on steps, stairs and curbs, into a hole or a ditch or into a dam or billabong.

Read more about falls from a height

PCBUs: Workers:
As a person conducting a business or undertaking, you have a duty to keep yourself, your workers and your workplace safe from risks associated with slips, trips and falls. You must eliminate or minimise risks so far as is reasonably practicable. . The best way to manage the risk of slips, trips and falls is to eliminate hazards when designing tasks.

Your PCBU has a duty to keep you and your workplace safe from risks associated with slips, trips and falls. You also have a duty to take reasonable care of your safety and that of others in the workplace.

If you can’t eliminate the risks from slips, trips and falls, you must minimise them as much as possible, including by: 

  • ensuring all areas are well lit.
  • having good drainage and slip resistant grates. 
  • designing your yards, races, gates and crushes to avoid having to move through muddy or dung-covered areas
  • installing extra power points to avoid trip hazards from trailing cords. 
  • removing branches, brush or rubbish.
  • returning farm tools and other items to their storage areas after use.
  • training workers to be more aware of slip and trip hazards to prevent injuries.
  • wearing slip-resistant footwear.

See Part 3.2 of the model WHS Regulations for more information.

For more information

  • Did you know

    The WHS regulator in your state or territory can provide practical advice, resources and tools to help you be safe when working in agriculture. They can also let you know which WHS laws apply to you.