Walking and working surfaces safety

Did you know that according to OSHA slips, trips, and falls (STF’s) are listed as the second leading cause of death in the general industry? That means that they account for approximately 15% of deaths in the workplace. How many times have you slipped or tripped and almost fell in your workplace? These types of accidents or near misses are constantly overlooked or ignored. Most people just don’t take these incidents seriously enough. STF’s have been a high percentage of all reported injuries, resulting in millions of dollars in Employee Workers’ Compensation Services. Employee awareness training is strongly recommended to help prevent STF’s.

Let’s talk about a few reasons why some people slip, trip, and fall in the workplace and what can be done to minimize and eliminate these hazards.

Falls due to slips happen when the friction between the person’s foot and the walking surface is not very good. This will generally cause a loss of balance.  A few things that will contribute to slips include, but are not limited to:

  • Wet/oily surfaces
  • Weather
  • Loose, unanchored mats or rugs
  • Flooring or other walking surfaces that do not have the same degree of traction in all areas
  • Footwear

All workers should be aware of their environment especially when the above hazards are present. Day-to-day distractions such as personal matters, meetings, and conversations may contribute to the employee not concentrating on their surroundings.

All workers must also be aware of surfaces becoming slippery due to moisture from factors such as the environment, spills or leaks, and freshly mopped or waxed floors. These are common among marble and tiled floors.

Trips

Falls from trips can occur when there is an unexpected obstacle that causes a loss of balance. Uneven walking surfaces, debris or clutter, unanchored carpeting or flooring, and other objects on the floor, such as electrical cords, are just a few items that may cause a worker to trip. Lighting can also be a major factor when dealing with trip hazards.  Poor lighting with the combination of haste or other distractions is often associated with tripping incidents.

 

Falls

When you fall because of a slip or trip then it is generally referred to as falls from the same level. The other types of falls will involve falling to or from another level. This could be from an elevated area or through an opening on the walking surface. Generally, these falls are the result of shift off the center of balance. Guard rails and handrails are generally required for these types of incidents.

 

Walking and Working Surfaces Safety Trivia

  1. True or False: Slips, trips, and falls (STF’s) are not a common occurrence in the workplace?

False, according to OSHA, slips, trips, and falls (STF’s) are listed as the second leading cause of death in the general industry.

  1. True or False: Warning signs should be in place after a floor has been freshly mopped or waxed?

True, all workers must also be aware of surfaces becoming slippery due to moisture from factors such as the environment, spills or leaks, and freshly mopped or waxed floors.

  1. True or False: If friction between the worker’s foot and the walking surface is not very good, the likelihood of being in an STF is very high.

True, All workers must also be aware of surfaces becoming slippery due to moisture from factors such as the environment, spills or leaks, and freshly mopped or waxed floors.