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
● 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.