The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Walking-Working Surfaces Standard addresses compliance regulations to reduce slip, trip and fall injuries. According to OSHA, those three represent the majority of workplace accidents. Additional OSHA publications provide best practice guidelines and solutions for creating a safe working environment and protecting your bottom line.
Housekeeping standards 1910.22(a)(2) and 1910.22(a)(3) address slips, trips and fall hazards directly. Standard 1910.22(a)(2) says workroom floors must be clean, as dry as possible, and with no protrusions, holes and loose boards. Businesses must install drainage systems and use platforms and anti-skid floor mats. Best practice recommendations include using no-skid waxes and coating slippery work surfaces with grit. It also says employees should wear waterproof footwear. OSHA also recommends writing clear spill clean-up and reporting procedures.
Aisles and Hallways
Businesses must clearly identify all permanent aisles and hallways, keep them free from obstructions, and in good repair. Standard stairway railings and guardrails around open areas such as open pits and ditches are additional requirements. The recommendations include taping or anchoring temporary electrical cords or data cables that cross aisles. It also suggests a regular inspection of carpets for bulges that could cause a fall. The rules are under Standard 1910.22(b) and 1910.23.
Exceeding weight limits when installing or re-positioning machinery and equipment is extremely dangerous. Standard 1910.22(d) says it's illegal to place a load heavier than the approved weight limit on any floor or roof. In addition, businesses that intend to install heavy equipment must contact a building code inspector to have the area assessed and approved. The floor-load ratings rule must be displayed in a conspicuous place.
Business owners are also responsible for ongoing employee training for hazard-awareness and safety practices. Although you can create your own safety-training program, OSHA has a free one developed by the National Safety Council posted on its website. The program has modules that focus on recognizing, evaluating and controlling hazards that lead to falls. It also points out how to create an action plan to prevent injuries using slide-show presentations, checklists and printable guides.
- U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Walking-Working Surfaces
- U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR) - Table of Contents
- U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration: eTools Healthcare Wide Hazards Slips, Trips and Falls
- Photo Credit ER_Creative/iStock/Getty Images
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