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Don’t Let Slips and Falls Bring You Down

Sandy Smith

Ice and snow, oily surfaces, slick floors, and trip hazards not only can cause slips and falls that injure employees, they can kill employees.

We’ve all taken a fall on ice or a slippery surface. Hopefully, the only thing that got bruised was the ego. That’s not always the case; emergency rooms fill with people suffering from same-surface fall injuries when temperatures drop and ice and snow cover sidewalks and steps.

Workers are not immune to same-surface slips and falls. OSHA recognized this fact and issued a final rule on Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems to better protect workers in general industry from these hazards by updating and clarifying standards and adding training and inspection requirements. OSHA estimates the standard prevents 29 fatalities and more than 5,842 injuries annually, and impacts approximately 112 million workers at 7 million worksites.

The rule, which became effective in January 2017, incorporates advances in technology, industry best practices, and national consensus standards to provide effective and cost-efficient worker protection. Specifically, it updates general industry standards addressing slip, trip, and fall hazards (subpart D), and adds requirements for personal fall protection systems (subpart I).

Scott Gaddis is Vice President, Global Practice Leader, Safety and Health at Intelex Technologies. He has over 25 years in EHS leadership experience in heavy manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and packaging industries. Before joining Intelex, Scott served as Vice President of EHS for Coveris High Performance Packaging, was Executive Director of EHS at Bristol-Myers Squibb, and was Global Leader for Occupational Safety and Health at Kimberly-Clark Corp. Gaddis has written a comprehensive article, Walking Working Surfaces and Pedestrian Safety, that originally was published in The Leader Magazine, the publication of the Voluntary Protection Program’s Participants Association.

In the article, Gaddis provides a comprehensive look at preventing falls on walking-working surfaces by:

  • Identifying risks to the worker associated with work activity.
  • Identifying hazards found in the work environment that pose a threat of loss.
  • Providing details of identified risks or hazards and providing context to build understanding.
  • Utilizing a measurement system to evaluate risk understanding and decide precautions.
  • Building controls that protect people and the work environment.


Once you’ve downloaded the Whitepaper, you’ll receive a link to download Scott’s Walking-Working Surface Inspection Checklist. The checklist will help you take the insights you've learned and use them to identify the strengths and weaknesses in your walking-working surface inspections.

February 12, 2020 @ 10:18 AM EST Manufacturing Health & Safety, Risk Management

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