The Safe Shop

From the


Staying Off the Skids

Keep Your Workers on Good, Solid Footing

Slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents. They cause 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities. Most falls are preventable. Many people attribute falls to being clumsy or not paying attention, but many risk factors exist, including physical hazards in the environment, age-related issues and health conditions. Reduce your risk and find fall hazards in your workplace and home to prevent injuries and keep others safe round the clock. Employers and employees both have a vested interest in reducing the incidence of slips, trips and falls. The following proactive measures are largely excerpted from a checklist developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and are designed to help minimize slip and fall incidents (Small Business Handbook, OSHA 2209-02R 2005).

General Work Environment

• Are all worksites clean, sanitary and orderly? • Are work surfaces kept dry and appropriate means taken to assure the surfaces are slip-resistant? • Are drainage, false floors, platforms, mats, etc. provided where wet processes are used? • Are all spilled hazardous materials or liquids, including blood and other potentially infectious materials, cleaned up immediately and according to proper procedures? • Is combustible scrap, debris and waste stored safely and removed from the worksite promptly? • Are covered metal waste cans used for oily or paint-soaked waste? • Are paint spray booths, dip tanks, etc., cleaned regularly? • Are all work areas adequately illuminated? • Are pits and floor openings covered or otherwise guarded? • Have all confined spaces been evaluated for compliance with 29 CFR 1910.146 (Permit required confined spaces)? • Are spilled materials cleaned up immediately? • Are changes of direction or elevations readily identifiable? • Are aisles or walkways that pass near moving or operating machinery, welding operations, or similar operations arranged so employees will not be subjected to potential hazards? • Is there adequate headroom for the entire length of any aisle or walkway? • Are standard guardrails provided wherever aisle or walkway surfaces are elevated more than 30” (76 cm) above any adjacent floor or the ground? • Are bridges provided over conveyors and similar hazards?


• Are aisles and passageways kept clear and marked as appropriate? • Are wet surfaces covered with non-slip materials? • Are holes in the floor, sidewalk, or other walking surface repaired properly, covered, or otherwise made safe? • Is there safe clearance for walking in aisles where motorized or mechanical handling equipment is operating? • Are materials or equipment stored in such a way that sharp projections will not interfere with the walkway?

Floor and Wall Openings

Slippery surfaces often take you by surprise. Wet, greasy or muddy floors are dangerous under any conditions, but they present special hazards when you’re pushing a hand truck or moving stone slabs. • Are floor openings guarded by a cover, a guardrail, or equivalent on all sides (except at stairways or ladder entrances)? • Are toeboards installed around the edges of permanent floor openings where persons may pass below the opening? • Are skylight screens able to withstand a load of at least 200 lbs (90.7 kg)? • Is the glass in windows, doors, glass walls, etc., subject to possible human impact, of sufficient thickness and type for the condition of use? • Are grates or similar type covers over floor openings such as floor drains designed to allow unimpeded foot traffic or rolling equipment? • Are manhole covers, trench covers and similar covers, and their supports designed to carry a truck rear axle load of at least 20,000 lbs (9,000 kg) when located in roadways and subject to vehicle traffic? • Are floor or wall openings in fire-resistant construction provided with doors or covers compatible with the fire rating of the structure and provided with a self-closing feature when appropriate?

Stairs and Stairways

• Do standard stair rails or handrails on all stairways have at least four risers? • Are all stairways at least 22" (56 cm) wide? • Do stairs have landing platforms not less than 30" (76 cm) in the direction of travel and extend 22" (56 cm) in width at every 12' (3.7 m) or less of vertical rise? • Do stairs angle no more than 50° and no less than 30°? • Are stairs of hollow-pan type treads and landings filled to the top edge of the pan with solid material? • Are step risers on stairs uniform from top to bottom? • Are steps slip-resistant? • Are stairway handrails located between 30" (76 cm) and 34" (86 cm) above the leading edge of stair treads? • Do stairway handrails have at least 3" (7.5 cm) of clearance between the handrails and the wall or surface they are mounted on? • Where doors or gates open directly on a stairway, is a platform provided so the swing of the door does not reduce the width of the platform to less than 21" (53 cm)? • Are stairway handrails capable of withstanding a load of 200 lbs (90.7 kg), applied within 2" (5.0 cm) of the top edge in any downward or outward direction? • Where stairs or stairways exit directly into any area where vehicles may be operated, are adequate barriers and warnings provided to prevent employees from stepping into the path of traffic? • Do stairway landings have a dimension measured in the direction of travel at least equal to the width of the stairway? • Is the vertical distance between stairway landings limited to 12' (3.7 m) or less?

An effective accident prevention program requires proper job performance from everyone in the workplace. Knowledge of your workplace hazards and ways to eliminate them can only improve your own operations–and the management of your firm.◘

An effective accident prevention program requires proper job performance from everyone in the workplace. Knowledge of your workplace hazards and ways to eliminate them can only improve your own operations–and the management of your firm.◘

Reminder: Safety is the responsibility of both management and employees!


The information herein is provided by the Natural Stone Institute as a general summary for use in job site toolbox talks and is provided to augment and not substitute for or replace required training under any applicable local, state or federal workplace statute, law or regulation. It is the user’s responsibility to ensure this content is consistent with job site requirements and applicable statutes, laws or regulations prior to use and make any required additions or changes.

For More Information

The Natural Stone Institute


Oberlin, Ohio