Yesterday, we looked at four risk factors—contaminants on floors and walkways; indoor walking surface irregularities; outdoor walking surface irregularities; and weather conditions—that can cause workers to slip or trip and fall. Today, we’ll look at four more risk factors and the interventions NIOSH found to be most effective.
Lights, Handrails, and Clutter
Slips and trips are often caused by problems with the floor surface itself—either by irregularities or slippery conditions. However, there are some issues not directly connected to the flooring surface that can also create a hazard, including:
Inadequate lighting. Inadequate lighting makes it harder to see hazards. Make hazards visible by:
- Installing more light fixtures and/or brighter bulbs in poorly lit areas; and
- Installing light fixtures that emit light from all sides.
Stairs and handrails. Poorly designed or maintained stairs and handrails can lead to falls. Make these safer with:
- Slip-resistant treads and nosing that cover the entire tread, especially on outside steps;
- Handrails at an appropriate height (34 to 38 inches from the stepping surface); and
- Handrails that extend the full length of the stairs plus 12 inches at top and one tread depth at bottom.
Tripping hazards. General clutter, loose cords, hoses, and wires pose a tripping hazard along with improperly used floor mats. Eliminate these by:
- Using wall-mounted storage hooks, shelves, and hose spools;
- Marking walkways and keeping them clear;
- Covering cords on the floor with a beveled protective cover;
- Using mats and runners large enough that users can take several footsteps on them, thereby cleaning contaminants off their shoes before the shoes contact the flooring;
- Using beveled-edge, flat, and continuous or interlocking mats; and
- Replacing mats that are curled, ripped, or worn (secure edges with carpet tape if needed).
Need more advice on walking and working surface safety? Run, don’t walk, to Safety.BLR.com!