Preventing Slips and Falls

Slips and falls on floors, on sidewalks, or in parking areas can cause injuries to employees and customers alike. Whether there’s snow and ice in your office parking lot or a spill in your kitchen, make sure to take the necessary precautions to address these common risks. Here are a few ways to help keep your workplace safe:

  • Develop a formal, written program that includes company policies and procedures for floor material design and selection; floor cleaning and maintenance; hazard identification and control; and housekeeping, including spill cleanup.
  • Perform regular job and housekeeping inspections that emphasize detecting, evaluating, and correcting slip, trip, and fall hazards.
  • Establish and enforce a policy to keep walkways free of tripping hazards, such as electrical cords.
  • Avoid changes in level greater than 1⁄4 inch in height. Changes in level between 1⁄4 inch and 1⁄2 inch should be beveled with a slope no greater than 1:2. Consider a ramp for changes in level greater than 1⁄2 inch.
  • Keep walkways well lit.
  • Maintain and – if necessary – repair working and walking surfaces.
  • Ensure employees regularly clean walking surfaces.
  • Remove grease, dirt, oils, and other contaminants with cleaning solutions approved by the company and appropriate for the floor surface. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for use.
  • Train employees on how to effectively respond in the event of a spill. For example, promptly block off the area, contain the spill, and clean the hazard.
  • In areas normally wet and slippery, treat floors and stair treads with slip-resistant coatings and treatments.
  • Protect entrances, vestibules, and lobbies with matting designed to absorb water and remove soil from footwear.
  • Secure mats in the facility so they lie flat.
  • Monitor sidewalks and parking areas. Remove snow and salt ice patches.
  • Encourage employees to wear slip-resistant footwear.
  • Provide training on bathroom cleaning methods.
  • Purchase ladders and step stools that are safe and suitable for their tasks.
  • Regularly inspect, maintain, and replace ladders.
  • Use steps or ladders to access storage trailers.
  • Provide slip-resistant stair treads on permanent stairs.
  • Install and maintain properly positioned and designed handrails on both sides of stairs.
  • Keep steps, docks, ramps, and other work areas in good repair. Ensure there is adequate lighting.
  • Teach staff to plan their lifts and routes in advance.

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The illustrations, instructions, and principles in this material are general in scope and, to the best of our knowledge, current at the time of publication. No attempt has been made to interpret any referenced codes, standards, or regulations nor to identify all potential risks or requirements.