- Identify good housekeeping practices that eliminate slip, trip, and fall hazards.
- Recognize safety requirements for walking and working surfaces that help prevent slips, trips, and falls.
- Identify safety requirements for stairs, catwalks, and other open-sided, elevated surfaces that help prevent slips, trips, and falls.
- Recognize behaviors that could result in personal injury, disability, death, property damage, and lost production.
- Identify employer responsibilities to provide PPE and the employee’s responsibility to wear it.
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This overview of slips, trips, and falls helps reinforce good behaviors for workers on how and where to avoid areas where these hazards can reside.
Recent statistics from the Congressional Accountability Office of Compliance indicate that employee falls are private industry’s third leading cause of workplace fatalities. Around 600 workers die from a fatal slip, trip, or fall, each year.
Believe it or not, most falls occur on flat surfaces like plant floors. Common causes are slippery areas, improperly stored items, foreign objects, and floor surface issues.
Reporting hazards you see in and around the workplace and following good housekeeping practices are the best defense against a serious fall for you or one of your co-workers. What is the ‘good housekeeping’ principle? It means that when a worker encounters a spill, or finds debris in a walkway, they first recognize the impact this material might have for colleagues negotiating the path, and then act immediately to clear the hazard. In general, good housekeeping means keeping all places of employment clean, orderly, and sanitary, including storerooms, service rooms, passageways, and bathrooms. Think of picking up trash on the floors at home or children’s toys left out on a staircase, and it is easy to understand the idea.
As part of good housekeeping practices, safety professionals should be able to answer “yes” to the following questions:
- Do stairways and stairwells have smooth, continuous handrails and slip-resistant stair surfaces?
- Is lighting adequate in work areas and passageways?
- Is there proper drainage for wet processes and dry places to stand where practical?
- Do exposed walking surfaces have sufficient texture or treatment for safe traction?
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