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  • Water And Oil - Slip And Fall

  • Water And Oil - Slip And Fall

    Slick Indoor Surfaces are Everyone's Problem

    Nearly everyone recognizes, and accepts, that outdoor surfaces may, on occasion, be slick; but once indoors, the average worker does not expect to encounter this type of hazard. Unfortunately, water or oil on indoor surfaces is not uncommon; and the presence of these substances is not limited to specific locations within the work place. In addition, injuries caused by these hazards are not limited to specific occupations. While janitors, food service workers, and workers who use lubricating or cutting oils in their jobs are exposed to a greater number of slick surfaces than are most other DOE workers, the majority of indoor reportable slips and falls are not directly job related.

    Reducing the Risks

    A reduction in the number of injuries involving slick indoor surfaces can be accomplished by identifying and eliminating certain hazards. Hazard identification, prior to an accident, is not an easy task. It is difficult to determine all the ways that substances, such as water and oil, can become hazards or to identify all of the contributing factors that may lead to injuries when workers encounter them. When these injuries become "statistics in a data base," however, specific problem areas can be identified; and steps can be taken to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences in the future.

    The most obvious way to limit the presence of water or oil on floors and working surfaces is to improve housekeeping; but, based on actual case histories, a number of other actions are also required if the number of slip/fall injuries from these hazards is to be reduced. In addition to housekeeping, more emphasis must be placed on training (e.g., hazard awareness and response), repair and maintenance activities, procedural compliance, design modifications, and the use of personal protective equipment and attire. Also, after every accident or near miss, the timely implementation of corrective actions that address both the root cause and the contributing cause or causes is essential.

    Events Involving Water

    Many indoor slip/fall events involve water. Water may enter the work place inadvertently, as a result of plugged drains, leaky roofs, faulty plumbing fixtures or piping, condensation, and employee carelessness (e.g., spills), or it may be tracked in from the outdoors. In addition, water on floors is the natural result of certain janitorial, food service, and maintenance activities.

    The occupations of the workers at risk vary. Workers whose jobs include working around water-slick floors experience many slips and falls; however, because of their training, experience, and protective equipment, workers in these occupations experience fewer such incidents than would be expected. By far the largest number of injuries resulting from wet floors involve personnel who work in office environments and do not anticipate slick conditions. Factors contributing to these injuries include failure to take proper precautions (e.g., not using shower shoes) even after recognizing the hazard or being warned of it (e.g., not heeding warning signs).

    Problem areas involving water include wet entranceway carpets, tiled/linoleum floors, liquid soaps on rest room floors, painted/waxed floors, metal door sills and steps, plastic carpet protectors, and darkroom floors.

    Events Involving Oil Workers who are most often injured due to oily conditions are typically those who work in or frequent machine shops, vehicle repair facilities, areas containing rotating equipment (e.g. pumps, generators, motors, etc.), oil storage facilities, or parking garages.

    Oil may become a hazard as a result of splatters from equipment, such as mills, lathes, saws, pipe threaders, and drill presses; leaks or ruptures of hydraulic systems or from capacitors and transformers; or spills onto walking surfaces, such as the boards used for scaffolding or temporary walkways. Failing to adequately clean oil from tools, ladders, and other surfaces upon completion of tasks may also result in a hazard. Failing to clean up oil adequately after completing a job may lead to more than worker falls: oil on pickup beds, van floors, or forklift

    tines may also cause loads to slip or fall. Also, oily parts and hand tools that inadvertently slip from a worker's grip can cause a variety of injuries, such as fractured toes, lacerations, broken teeth, and sprains or strains.

    This information came from a
    DOE online article.

    *** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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