Some of the reasons why people slip, trip, and fall in the workplace and what can be done to identify and eliminate or control these hazards.
Falls due to slips occur when there is not enough friction between the walking surface and the person’s foot, causing a loss of balance. Ordinary causes of slips include, but are not limited to:
• Wet or oily surfaces
• Occasional spills
• Weather hazards
• Loose, unanchored rugs or mats
• Flooring or other walking surfaces that do not have the same degree of traction in all areas
Like slips, falls from trips occur when there is an unexpected obstacle that causes a loss of balance. Uneven walking surfaces, unfastened carpeting or flooring, clutter or debris, open drawers, and other objects on the floor, such as electrical cords and pipes, are just some of the items that cause workers to trip. An obstructed view, poor lighting, inattention and haste, in combination with these objects, are often associated with tripping incidents.
Once again, good housekeeping and proper maintenance are the primary means for preventing trips. OSHA standard 1910.22(a)(1) of 29 CFR Part 1910.22 Subpart D, Walking-Working Surfaces states that “All places of employment, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms shall be kept clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition.”
Here are some tips to prevent tripping and slipping:
• Keep work areas and walking surfaces clean and free of clutter and debris
• Keep work areas and hallways well lighted. Turn on lights or use a flashlight in unlit areas. Burned-out light bulbs should be replaced immediately.
• Maintain clear aisles and hallways, free of furniture and other obstacles. In addition, 29 CFR 1910.22(b)(2) states: “Permanent aisles and passageways shall be appropriately marked.”3
• Close drawers (file or desk) and remove file boxes from around furniture and other areas where workers may walk.
• Do not run cords across walkways or aisles without taping to the floor or covering with a proper cord cover. Never cover with a rug or carpet.
• Make sure that you can see the way ahead. Do not carry or push things that obstruct your view of the travel path.
• Keep sidewalks, parking lots and other walking surfaces in good condition and free of uneven surfaces, such as cracks, bumps, or holes. Mark and barricade such hazards until they can be repaired.
• Keep stairs in good condition and clear of objects. Check treads for wear and if secure. Be sure handrails are in good condition and securely fastened. Use the handrail while ascending and descending.
• Secure loose flooring and carpets. Make sure rugs and mats are not turned up or folded over.
“IF IT’S NOT SAFE, STOP…DO IT THE SAFE WAY.”
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