Making Worker and Pedestrian Safety a High Priority: Guidelines to Use When Developing a Robust Walking-Working Surfaces Program

As the saying goes: “Safety isn’t expensive, it’s priceless.”

Falls on level – slips, trips and falls – can be some of the most debilitating and expensive injuries workers can suffer and contribute to a surprising number of worker deaths each year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that “on average, slips, trips and falls cause nearly 700 fatalities per year.” As such, it’s become increasingly clear that this requires attention as well as improved practices and programs.

OSHA’s Standards and Recommended Practices

Designed to protect workers from injuries caused by problematic walking-working surfaces, OSHA updated its existing standards in 2017 and now include training and stricter risk mitigation practices and procedures (e.g. more inspections). Organizations ultimately are responsible for ensuring that they develop walking-working surfaces programs.

Effective Walking-Working Surface Programs: Insights and Tactical Recommendations by Industry Experts

With over 25 years of experience under his belt, Scott Gaddis, Vice President, Global Practice Leader, Safety and Health at Intelex Technologies Inc., has created a framework with which to develop an extensive, yet easily “adoptable” walking-working surfaces program. Gaddis recommends:

Phase 1 – Slip, Trip and Fall Hazards Inspections:
The first phase involves identifying all slip, trip and fall hazards through a inspection. As a starting point, inspectors should keep an eye out for: identifying slippery surfaces, surface illumination issues and changes in surface areas.

Phase 2 – Risk Assessments and Determining Control Actions:
There are a couple of options to choose from here. The first is to conduct a risk assessments, where risks associated with specific hazards, worker activity or environments are identified and rated. Risk matrices are also used to determine risk ratings by overlaying the risk severity with the likelihood of each risk. The final rating determines the actions required.

Another option is to apply the hierarchy of controls. This involves prioritizing the most effective controls (i.e. engineering solutions), followed by administrative controls, followed by PPE.

Drive Progress through Insights

By accessing our ‘Walking-Working Surfaces and Pedestrian Safety Checklist,’ you will learn:

  1. The key categories within surface inspections that have key action items and controls: surface composition, surface condition, surface obstructions, surface separation and surface illumination
  2. Specific actions and accountabilities that people managers must follow and be responsible for (e.g. near miss and accident reporting reviews, effective training around slip and trip hazards).
  3. The key items to inspect and the key differences between indoor surface conditions and outdoor surface conditions.

Click here to access your checklist!

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