Are there any special laws or regulations regarding slips and falls in public places or workplaces?

OSHA regulates slips and trips. 26% fall under subpart D, Surfaces for walking and working. These requirements apply to all workplaces in the industry in general. It also covers all walking and working surfaces within these workplaces regardless of operations, including floors, walkways, ladders, platforms, ceilings, etc.

Falls are one of the most common causes of serious injuries and work-related deaths. Employers should configure the workplace to prevent employees from falling from raised platforms, raised workstations, or falling into holes in the floor and walls. OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at heights of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in stowage operations. In addition, OSHA requires that fall protection be provided when working on hazardous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance.

Nationwide, falls are the second leading cause of accidental death and a leading cause of debilitating injuries. This program is designed to reduce the exposure of visitors and employees to slip, trip and fall accidents. This sample program is intended to provide general information to consider when developing a slip, trip and fall prevention program. Complying with OSHA and other safety laws, codes or regulations and maintaining a safe work environment for your employees remains your responsibility.

A coordinated program to remove ice and snow before employees arrive at work, with continuous removal throughout the day, better controls the risks of slips and falls. It provides references that can help recognize and assess fall protection hazards in the workplace. OSHA has developed this website to provide workers and employers with useful and up-to-date information on fall protection. Coating or replacing floors, installing rugs, pressure-sensitive abrasive strips, or adhesive paint coatings with abrasive padding and metal or synthetic covers can further improve safety and reduce the risk of falls.

Fall protection, for activities outside the construction industry, is addressed in specific OSHA regulations for the general and maritime industries. It is the responsibility of each employee to obtain and maintain non-slip footwear in serviceable condition. Accident studies indicate that nearly 80% of slips and falls due to snow and ice occur in parking lots or sidewalks. A fall can cause death or disability in a split second, but with a few simple precautions, you'll be sure to stay safe at home and at work.

This fact shows that good cleaning, the quality of walking surfaces (floors), the selection of the right shoes and the right pace when walking are essential to prevent falls. Good cleaning is the first level and the most important (fundamental) in preventing falls due to slips and trips.

Denise Sheperd
Denise Sheperd

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