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Slips, trips, and falls cause the majority of general industry accidents, and a number of accidental deaths – more fatalities than all other accident causes but motor vehicles. You can fall when walking, standing, or even sitting in a chair, but most occur while walking. Causes may include water spilled on a floor, losing your footing on stairs or a gravel path, a slippery parking lot, or tripping over a loose wire.

Paying attention to the conditions around you and looking before you walk can help you prevent painful and disabling slips and falls.

● If you are carrying something, can you see where you are going?

● Is carpeting torn, bulging or bunched?

● Do area rugs or mats have non-slip backings?

● Are highly-polished floors slippery?

● Are there any “wet floor” warning signs?

● Are aisles and passageways clear?

● Do stairs have hand railings?

● Are ladders used safely?

● Is snow, ice or rainwater removed promptly?

● Is lighting adequate in all work areas, halls and stairways?

● Do employees wear appropriate footwear?

The Floor Surface

These walking surfaces can be hazardous, especially if you are not careful:

● Rough ground

● Painted concrete

● Smooth wet floors

● Gravel

● Carpets and rugs

Take special care to maintain and clean these surfaces properly.

Basic and Recommended Practices

Complying with certain basic OSHA standards (for “Walking and Working Surfaces”) will go a long way toward preventing injuries from slips, trips and falls:

● Keep all places of employment clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition.

● Keep floors clean and dry.

● Keep aisles and passageways clear and in good repair with no obstruction across, or in, aisles that could create a hazard.

● Provide floor plugs for equipment, so power cords need not run across pathways.

● Provide warning signs for wet floor areas.

● Keep exits free from obstruction. Access to exits must remain clear of obstructions at all times.

Implement recommended safe work practices:

● Provide adequate lighting.

● Repair any uneven floor surfaces.

● Relay or stretch carpets that bulge or have become bunched to prevent tripping hazards.

● Use non-skid waxes and surfaces coated with grit to create non-slip surfaces.

● Use non-slip mats.

● Promote a proper footwear program that provides for appropriate work shoes for employees.

● Set up a “wet floor” warning sign. Mop one side of corridor or room to leave a dry path. Then mop other side when path is dry.

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