With predictable regularity, falls continue to be a leading cause of accidents and deaths on the job. Falls include those on the same level (floor, ground), as well as from one level to another (stairs, ladders, roof, etc.). They can be caused by either or both of two reasons – an unsafe action of an individual (hurrying, overreaching, improper use of equipment, etc.) or unsafe condition of the situation (poor housekeeping, unguarded opening, surface condition, etc.).
Good footing is the best way to avoid falls and good housekeeping is the best way to ensure good footing. Trash, wires, and slippery areas caused by water, grease, or oil can cause falls. Watch footing when working on slick flooring and poorly lit areas; where floors are uneven from room to room; and where surfaces are uneven from broken concrete, cracked asphalt, or curled rugs. Always look in the direction you are walking. Avoid carrying large objects that may block your view of a safe walking path. Walk slowly on stairs and use handrails to secure your step.
Cover, guard, or mark spills, potholes, and floor openings. Protect them with warning cones, guardrails, or toe boards. Except for normal doorways, protect wall openings and stairways through which someone could fall. The protection should be sufficiently strong and secured to prevent it from being removed.
Makeshift ladders or incorrect ladder selection can cause falls. Choose the ladder that’s made for the job. Be sure it’s in good condition and placed securely. Face the ladder and keep both hands free while climbing.
Preventing falls is a matter of common sense. Watch where you’re walking. Take careful steps when you walk and choose and use equipment properly.