Walking & Working Surfaces

Walking & Working Surfaces

Proper Safety Precautions

Many workers are injured every year due to slips, trips, or falls generated by improper walking and working surfaces. Most of these accidents can be prevented if proper safety precautions are initiated. Slips, trips, and falls can be caused by conditions such as ice, standing water, grease, polished floors, loose flooring or carpeting, uneven walking surfaces, poorly placed electrical cords, and damaged ladder steps. The controls needed to prevent these hazards are usually relatively simple such as removing debris from job sites, parking in prepared parking areas, keeping doorways, walkways & stairs clear of debris, properly stacking & storing materials, coiling up extension cords and hoses when not in use, keeping ropes chains, & wires out of the way, wearing appropriate footwear, and clearing/draining parking lots, stairs, & walkways in snowy/wet weather.

The following provides information on walking/working surfaces hazards and prevention:

Housekeeping: All work areas, active job sites, parking areas, hallways, storerooms, and restrooms shall be kept clean, orderly, sanitary, and free of slip, trip, and fall hazards. Sufficient illumination is a must for safe access. All exit doors and egress paths shall be kept free of obstructions at all times. Always immediately clean up grease, oils, mud and water spills.

Equipment and Vehicles: Keep stairs, ladders and walking surfaces on heavy equipment and ladders free of mud and debris. Report any damaged rungs or steps for repair.

Aisles and Passageways: Aisles and passageways in office, conex, and warehouse areas shall be kept clear and in good repair, with no obstruction that could create a hazard. Provide light or allow for natural light to enter the space.

Guardrail Systems: Guardrail systems consist of a top rail 42 inches high and must withstand a force of at least 200 pounds. A mid-rail must be located midway between the top-rail and toe-board, and be able to withstand a force of at least 150 pounds. A toe-board is 3.5 inches from the working level and must withstand 50 pounds. Report any deficient guardrails immediately.

Covers and Guardrails: Covers and/or guardrails shall be provided to protect personnel from the hazards such as open manholes, open pits, tanks, ditches, stairways, floor holes, chutes, window wall openings, open-side floors and platforms. Provide a berm and or barricade as a warning to open trenches and excavations.

Utility Openings: Floor, sidewalk & pavement openings are to be guarded by a standard guardrail system, barricade, in place manhole lid or a secured plywood board (300 lbs. strength) marked with the words “Hole/Hoyo”. All openings from which there is a drop of more than 6 inches are to be guarded. Never leave a manhole lid open and unattended; close and reopen it again later if you have to leave.

Housekeeping, clear aisles, barricades, signage, and guard opening covers are keys to safe access.

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