Archive for October, 2011

7 Ways to Prevent Slips Trips and Falls

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

1- Using the most appropriate flooring materials
The flooring material chosen should not be selected based solely on cost or aesthetic issues. The flooring surface should be smooth, but not slippery. There ARE standards for the safest co-efficient of friction on surfaces, so make sure your surfaces meet these standards. It should not have joints, ridges or edges that are one fourth inch in height or greater. Any greater elevation changes than this present the opportunity for tripping. The floor material should be slip-resistant, meaning the material should not accommodate any sliding of the feet. This is especially true in restrooms, kitchen facilities, and at exterior entrances where rain, sleet or snow can be tracked inside the building.
2- Having the proper floor maintenance
Any damage done to the floor surface by the building settling, dropped items, wear and tear, or by movement of supplies or equipment should be promptly repaired. Frayed carpet or missing tile often leads to a slip and fall or a trip and fall. All flooring surfaces should be kept in a state of good repair (and that means no duct tape over a frayed seam as a repair). The uses of floor cleaners and waxes should be in accordance to the product specifications. A slip-resistant floor with an excessive coat of wax will lose it slip-resistant properties. 
3- Having the proper housekeeping rules
All materials, supplies, equipment and tools should have their designated locations and the floor is never one of the locations. Litter, debris, and left over production waste should be removed promptly before it can become a slip or trip hazard. Any spills of any type should be immediately cleaned.
4- Marking and identifying all changes in elevation
There are more falls where the change in elevation is one step than there are where the change in elevation is a full set of steps from one floor to another. Whether one step or a dozen steps, the steps need to be properly marked. If the steps have the same color and the same floor covering as the adjacent floor, this is inviting trips and falls. The steps should be clearly marked, well lit, with an even width and height for every step, and be properly maintained. Properly maintained includes no frayed or broken edges, proper handrails, slip-resistant surface and no loose flooring material. 
5- Maintaining the sidewalks and walkways
All sidewalks need to be smooth but not slippery.  Any damage to the sidewalk from settling, tree roots, or machinery traversing across the sidewalks should be repaired quickly. Any elevation change of a ¼ inch or higher needs to be clearly marked or corrected. Any accumulation of water from water sprinklers, rain, ice or snow needs to be removed before an accident can occur.
6- Maintaining parking garages and parking lots
A pothole in the parking lot can cause a lot more than a damaged hubcap or messing up the wheel alignment. The surface area of the parking lot or parking garage needs to smooth without ridges, edges or joints greater than ¼ inch to prevent trips and falls. Any potholes, broken pavement of other irregularities should be promptly repaired. Marked walk areas or sidewalks should be provided to reduce the potential for slips and trips. The parking area should be properly illuminated for night or bad weather use. Parking bumpers, speed bumps, and other potential trip hazards should be brightly painted to reduce the risk of trips.
7- Requiring proper footwear
If the employees are to be working in an area where there is occasionally water on the floor, spills or other causes of slippery conditions, the employer should require all employees to wear shoes designed with a skid resistant sole and heel.  A good rule of thumb is low heels and good tread on all work footwear.

Now Hear This: ‘Feasible’ Stakeholder Meeting Announced

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Oct 07, 2011-

OSHA has announced a Nov. 3 meeting at its Washington, D.C., headquarters to discuss occupational hearing loss prevention with stakeholders. The meeting is significant because it fulfills the promise OSHA made in January 2011, when the agency abruptly withdrew its proposal to reinterpret “feasible administrative or engineering controls” to prevent hearing loss.

The plan was simply this: When judging employers’ controls, agency personnel would interpret “feasible” as everyone else does -– to mean “capable of being done,” as OSHA explained when it proposed this in October 2010. This alarmed some stakeholders who feared being forced to install expensive engineering controls or cited, even when PPE was being worn by exposed workers.

OSHA extended the comment period, received more than 90 comments, and withdrew the reinterpretation while promising to start an education and outreach initiative and hold a stakeholder meeting on noise-related hearing loss.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. EST and end at 1 p.m. The registration deadline is Oct. 27. To register, call 781-674-7374, fax 781-674-2906, or visit Faxed requests should be addressed: Attention: OSHA Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss: Stakeholder Meeting.

OSHA has decided not to allow formal presentations by stakeholders. The discussion will focus on topics such as the use of PPE, effective hearing conservation programs, and the use of feasible engineering controls to lessen noise exposures.