What is the leading cause of workplace deaths in the United States? Falls. According to OSHA, falls account for 36.5% of all workplace deaths. ANSI/ASSP A1264.2-2022: Reducing Slip Missteps On Walking-Working Surfaces aims to provide guidelines to increase safety in the workplace by limiting workplace slips that could the result in falls.
Missteps include air step, heel scuff, overstep, slip, stumble, trip, understep, and unstable footing missteps, and they can be so jarring that a person can be injured from the misstep alone. ANSI/ASSP A1264.2-2022 focuses on provisions to reduce slip missteps that may occur from surface conditions in the workplaces. Slip missteps are missteps that occur when inadequate friction exists between a pedestrian’s foot and a supporting surface, which then causes the pedestrian’s foot to slide. ANSI/ASSP A1264.2-2022 addresses three basic factors:
- Practices for facilitating adequate friction when walking on a working surface and pedestrian safety;
- Discussion of test procedures and equipment;
- Guidance on investigation and analysis of slip misstep incidents.
This American National Standard is intended for use by safety, design, and facility professionals and related practitioners who seek guidance on minimizing the risk of misstep-related falls.
What Conditions May Cause Slip Missteps?
ANSI/ASSP A1264.2-2022 examines safe underfoot surfaces with the goal of prioritizing solutions for prevention. The unexpected loss of friction between the footwear bottom and floor material is most common event leading to a slip misstep. Consequently, the available friction of an underfoot surface is a key consideration in the prevention of slip missteps and falls. Environments requiring more physically intensive tasks generally need more friction. Slip missteps can be associated with several conditions such as:
- Floor surface characteristics (e.g., underfoot slops) impacting the available friction
- Frictional performance on the sole of footwear
- Environment factors (e.g., contaminants like water and oil or wet/icy conditions)
- Human factors (e.g., gait, activities, psychology, and physiological conditions)
How to Prevent Workplace Slips and Falls?
To prevent workplace slips and falls, ANSI/ASSP A1264.2-2022 maintains management should to the following:
- Ensure the walking-working surface has acceptable friction under foreseeable (weather) conditions
- Make use of barricades, warnings, and other relevant signage to make a foreseeable slip hazard known
- Monitor and test surface friction with a tribometer to meet verification requirements on dry, wet, contaminated, non-level, and non-planar walkway surfaces
- Ensure pedestrian safety by using floor mats and runners
- Implement training, supervision, and a routine housekeeping program (e.g., written procedures) to maintain safe walkway surfaces
- Utilize illumination design to minimize shadows that obscure hazardous conditions
- Control footwear worn has sufficient frictional properties
- Install an investigation program (with the use of standardized data recording forms) to analyze the source and timing of any slips and falls
What Industry Has the Most Fall Fatalities?—Construction
Falls are the leading cause of fatalities among construction workers. Falls account for one-third of on-the-job deaths in the construction industry and 351 out of the 1,008 construction fatalities recorded in 2020. Further, roughly 300–400 construction workers fall to their deaths each year, usually while operating at heights on roofs, ladders, and scaffolds. In 2019, the (1,102) fatal injuries in the construction industry represented 20.7% of total workplace fatalities (5,333) in the United States. Besides falls, trips and slips are a frequent type of fatal event in construction, and in 2019 falls, trips, and slips represented 37.9% of all construction fatalities (418 of 1,102). To raise awareness of the prominence of fall hazards and reinforce safe practices in the workplace that prevent falls, there is a yearly OSHA webinar called the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction (May 2-6 2022) for employers to talk to their employees about safety.
ANSI/ASSP A1264.2-2022: Reducing Slip Missteps On Walking-Working Surfaces is available on the ANSI Webstore.