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Worker Safety

In Worker Safety, Overview we discussed the importance of addressing slips and falls by employees. In this part begin sharing examples and ways to improve dangerous situations.

Exterior Walkways

Regardless of weather, all outside areas, such as curbs, lawns, lots and sidewalks merit special attention. Parking areas that are next to sidewalks should be controlled so that vehicles are not allowed to overlap. Sidewalks must be kept in good repair to avoid large cracks (perils for tripping as well as trapping heels), and uneven sections (including heaving portions).

Asphalt areas should also be maintained to avoid dips, cracks and potholes. Use of gravel lots should be avoided because they are prone to uneven areas and pooling of water. If workers are allowed to walk on lawns and landscaped areas, they should be inspected for evenness. Care should be taken to use landscape devices that create trip hazards. It may be most prudent to prohibit use of lawn and landscape areas for walking (especially for shortcuts) when more suitable pathways are available. Plants, shrubs and trees near walkways should be properly trimmed and maintained so that growth and debris don't hamper walkway use.

Curbs should be maintained as deteriorated curbs are a definite trip hazard. Use of bright paint to make curbs conspicuous is also helpful. Compliance with accessibility laws is a must, such as creating a slope that transitions from a lot to a walkway, also makes things safer for all workers.


Companies must make sure that any flooring used is properly maintained to keep them safe for use. Carpeting that develops worn or loose areas should be patched or replaced. Floor areas that consist of materials that are vulnerable to becoming slippery when wet can be handled by various methods. Use of mats is a good method. However, mats should be regularly inspected and kept clean and dry in order to remain effective. They should also be properly positioned and not cause uneven areas (inappropriately thick mats).

Floors should not be cleaned or treated with products, such as wax or polish that increase the chance of falling. Wood and vinyl floors should be kept level and free of cracked materials or gaps.

Wet floor areas, whether due to cleaning or spills, should be dried as quickly as possible and floor markers should be used to warn workers. However, markers should also be quickly removed when no longer needed or else workers will start to ignore them.

Please refer to Work Safety, More Corrective Action for additional examples of possible accident sources and corrective action that a company may take to reduce chances of slip and fall losses.

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