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One could state that avoiding trip hazards in the industrial workplace is easy. Keep walk areas clear. Simple enough. Although if it were that easy, 20% of all job related injuries would not be accounted to slips, trips or falls. There is the old adage “Watch where you’re going”!

So why is this percentage so high? The response from the injured “I didn’t see...” “I wasn’t thinking...,” it could be their eyes or mind was not on task. Which is definitely a factor in the accident, if they had been watching or thinking about where they were going, they would have seen the object they tripped.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cannot control the mind of the individuals, we all have times where our minds are pre-occupied does have some general requirements for Walking-Working surfaces.

To prevent workplace trips, OSHA requires employers to ensure:

All places of employment, passageways, storerooms, service rooms, and walking-working surfaces are regularly inspected, maintained, kept in a clean, orderly, sanitary and safe condition. (1910.22(a)(3))

In hazardous conditions on walking-working surfaces are corrected or repaired before an employee uses the walking-working surface again. If the correction or repair cannot be made immediately, the hazard must be guarded to prevent employees from using the walking-working surface until the hazard is corrected or repaired.( 1910.22(d)(2)

Above following OSHA rules, the following visual cues can be added for the reduction of accidental workplace trips:

  • Brightly outlined mats or tapes help to identify objects that are lower than standard peripheral vision and colors blend into their surrounding surface.
  • Reflective signs with warning symbols can also help.
  • Ramps that are additionally contrasting in color can be installed to indicate change in floor elevation.

The visual indicators of contrast causes a change that the eye picks up on sending signals to the brain that bring ones’ thoughts back to mind on task.

Stay tuned for the final post in this series: Industrial Workplace Hazards Part III: Preventing Falls.

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By Wearwell team member Dawn Niven