How to reduce trips and falls

Trips and falls account for a large amount of injuries in the home. By following simple guidelines, you can help to reduce the risk to you and your family.

Common causes of trips and falls

Accidents in the home are often caused by:

  • poorly organised and cluttered walkways
  • inadequate or unsuitable lighting
  • moving or handling a load incorrectly
  • rushing around
  • tiredness
  • physical ability, lack of mobility or lack of balance
  • poor eyesight, inappropriate glasses
  • medication that can lead to dizziness – older people on four or more different types of medication have an increased risk of falling

Look out for trip hazards

Trip and slip hazards can be a problem in all homes, especially in houses with exposed wooden floors.

Slippery floors

You should look out for:

  • spills and splashes of liquids and solids
  • wet floors
  • changing from a wet to a dry surface
  • dusty floors

Cluttered floors

Removing clutter or obstructions on floors, like loose mats or trailing cables, can help reduce the risk of a fall.

Uneven floors

Be aware of:

  • changes in surface level or sloping surfaces
  • holes and cracks
  • unsuitable floor surfaces or coverings – for example loose or worn flooring

Bad weather, which can make surfaces slippery, and unsuitable footwear can also increase the risk of a fall.

Five steps to avoiding hazards

There are five recommended risk assessment steps for keeping slips and trips to a minimum:

  • look around for anything that may cause an accident
  • decide who is most at risk
  • take preventative measures
  • keep a record of what you have changed
  • continually check your living space – keep a note of all potential hazards

Keep active to reduce the risk of trips and falls

You can help your general well-being and help to reduce the risk of trips and falls by keeping active and healthy.

A good way to make your muscles stronger and to improve your balance is to take regular exercise. Exercise is important for older people, who are more vulnerable to trip hazards in the home.

You don't have to go to the gym to stay active. Simple tasks like gardening, regular house work and walking can boost energy levels and improve coordination and balance.

Older people - getting help and advice

Make sure you carry out a risk assessment of all the rooms in your home. For example, do you have hand rails for your bath or is the kitchen free of clutter and well lit?

Falls Directory

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust (SHSCT) has produced the Falls Directory for anyone who wants to know more about falls; this includes older people themselves, a concerned relative or friend, a health professional or other individuals from a statutory, voluntary or community based organisation.

The Falls Directory will help you to:

  • understand why falls occur
  • reduce the risks of falling
  • improve your bone health
  • understand how health conditions can link to falls
  • make your home environment safer
  • understand how health professionals can help you
  • understand what to do if you fall

Welcome to the Southern Trust's Falls Directory

Children

Children are prone to trips and falls and you should always do a safety inspection of potential play areas, both at home and when you are out. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) provides detailed information about how you can assist in reducing childhood accidents in your home.

More useful links

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.