What is a Trip Hazard?
Some insights and food for thought.....

Trip Hazards are a serious problem and are the largest cause of personal injury in Australia. The most common ones are sprains, cuts, bruises, fractures, and dislocations. But more serious injuries can and do also occur.

Trips occur when a person unexpectedly catches their foot on an object or surface. In most cases people trip on low obstacles that are not easily noticed such as uneven edges on footpaths, in flooring, loose mats and untidy tools or cables.

External surfaces such as concrete footpaths and common areas frequently shift. This is the most common trip hazard we see and are often referred to as “vertical displacement” trip hazards. Some factors that can cause vertical displacement trip hazards include:

  • Reactive ground (soil, clay etc)
  • Tree roots
  • Change of seasons
  • Earthquakes

* A classic vertical displacement trip hazard

If left untreated injuries may occur and there can be liability exposure. A Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) must manage the health and safety risks associated with slips and trips by eliminating the risk so far as is reasonably practicable.

This involves a systematic approach (something Safe Footpaths specialises in) to:

  • identify hazards
  • assess the risks associated with these hazards
  • implement and maintain risk control measures
  • review risk control measures.

How to define a trip hazard can be a little subjective. It is often referred to as an “intervention level”.

To meet the DDA and Building Code of Australia, pedestrian surfaces must have a smooth transition. This applies to transitions / changes in surface materials, where new and existing paths abut, service pit lids, and at the base of ramps etc. This means a 3mm tolerance for vertical edges, and 5mm for rounded edges (Source: Access for People with Disabilities).

A person with a disability has a right to have access to places used by the public. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) makes it against the law for public places to be inaccessible to people with a disability.

A change in level on a pedestrian surface requires a remedy such as a slice, grind, ramp, or replacement. As a guideline, Australian councils typically remove trip hazards 10mm and above, and schools & aged car sites typically intervene at 7mm.

Safe Footpaths are the specialists in identifying, and removing trip hazards across Australia and we take immense satisfaction in knowing that what we do helps to reduce risk for our clients, and serious injuries due to trip hazards in pedestrian areas.

* A photo of a trip hazard before our repairs

* A photo of a trip hazard after our repairs

Identifying and repairing trip hazards on external surfaces and paths is what we do all day, everyday. Reach out to me HERE or on the below details to schedule a time or to learn more.

Nick Hooper


0406 333 350

Based in Melbourne, Sydney & Brisbane and servicing all of Australia

If you have questions or would like to a free consultation, please complete the brief form on our contact page.