5 Fall Prevention Guidelines
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Simply walking to your desk or through your warehouse may be the most dangerous part of your day. It’s in moments like these when most of us are on autopilot and deep in thought that we can slip, trip, and fall. That’s why fall prevention is a critical part of any facility’s safety program. By eliminating hazards, maintaining clear walkways, and meeting safety standards and requirements, you can prevent serious and even fatal accidents.

The topic for week two of Nation Safety Month is slips, trips, and falls. At work, people are more likely to get injured by slipping, tripping, or falling than by any other potential cause of an accident. So, keeping up with fall prevention standards and techniques is important. After all, one wrong step or moment’s inattention shouldn’t cause serious harm.

Slip, Trip, and Fall Statistics

According to OSHA, most general industry accidents and 15% of all accidental deaths occur due to slipping, tripping, and falling. These types of injuries result in more fatalities than all other causes apart from motor vehicle accidents. OSHA estimates that over 200,000 serious injuries and 345 fatalities occur among workers every year.

A fall prevention program could have prevented most of these accidents, keeping workers healthy and whole while saving employers money.

Fall Prevention Minimizes Risks

From best practices to required standards, there are various ways to reduce risks and prevent injuries. Here is a simple checklist to help you assess your facility and create a prevention program.

1.) General Housekeeping

  • Ensure your workplace is kept clean and sanitary
  • Keep floor areas clean and dry
  • Keep walkways, stairways, and paths clear of debris and refuse
  • Be sure rugs or matting is secure with edges and corners flat on the floor
  • Winter ice should be addressed immediately
  • Water and spills should be cleaned up or the area marked off until cleared

2.) Aisles and Passageways

  • Clear the area of hazardous obstructions
  • Be sure to label permanent aisles and passageways properly
  • Each aisle must be wide enough for PITs (Powered Industrial Trucks) or handling equipment
  • The minimum requirement for emergency route walkways is 28 inches

3.) Covers and Guardrails

  • Provide covers, shields, and/or guardrails to protect workers from exposures to hazards of open pits, tanks, vats, ditches, or similar structures
  • Protect workers performing or exposed to “hot work,” generating welding or grinding sparks, riveting projectiles, and light

4.) Stair Standards

  • Stairs must be provided where regular access is required to move from one level to another and must be constructed to carry five times the anticipated live load and never less than a 1,000lb load
  • Fixed stairs should have a minimum width of 22 inches. If tread is present, it should be constructed out of reasonably non-slip material or coating

5.) Railing Standards

  • Railings and toe boards must be used (regardless of height) to guard: open-sided floors, walkways, platforms, and runways above or adjacent to dangerous equipment.

We Can Help You Avoid Safety Slip-ups

Now that you know the basics of fall prevention, how do you feel about your safety program? We can help walk you through safety compliance. Our Safety Specialists are available to provide in-depth assessments, expert recommendations, and OSHA-certified training. Contact us today!

Have you ever had a fall or a close call on the job? Let us know in the comments.

About the author

Jim Lanz
Jim Lanz

Jim supports our sales team and helps our customers achieve a safe, healthy, and accident-free work environment in his role of Safety Specialist at Horizon Solutions. Jim has over 15 years experience in the field of safety which includes extensive OSHA compliance experience and executing safety programs for manufacturing facilities. Jim is an Authorized OSHA Outreach Instructor, and facilitates safety training classes that involve custom curriculum that meets the specific needs of our customers.