Wet floors, spills, and clutter can lead to slips/trips/falls and other possible injuries.
Requirements under OSHA's Walking-Working Surfaces Standard, 29 CFR 1910.22
- Keep floors clean and dry. [29 CFR 1910.22(a)(2)]
- Keep aisles and passageways clear and in good repair, with no obstruction across or in aisles that could create a hazard. [29 CFR 1910.22(a)]
Other OSHA Requirements
Follow Bloodborne Pathogens Standard spill clean-up requirements for spills containing blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) [29 CFR 1910.1030].
Recognized Controls and Work Practices
- Ensure that spills are reported and cleaned up immediately.
- Use no-skid waxes and surfaces coated with grit to create non-slip surfaces in slippery areas such as toilet and shower areas.
- Use waterproof footgear to decrease slip/fall hazards.
- Use only properly maintained ladders to reach items. Do not use stools, chairs, or boxes as substitutes for ladders.
- Re-lay or stretch carpets that bulge or have become bunched to prevent tripping hazards.
- Ensure that aisles and passageways are sufficiently wide for easy movement and are also kept clear at all times. Ensure that temporary electrical cords that cross aisles are taped or anchored to the floor.
- Eliminate cluttered or obstructed work areas.
- Use prudent housekeeping procedures, such as cleaning only one side of a passageway at a time, and provide good lighting for all halls and stairwells, to help reduce injuries.
- Provide adequate lighting especially during night hours. You can use flashlights or low-level lighting when entering patient rooms.
- Instruct workers to use the handrails on stairs, to avoid undue speed, and to maintain an unobstructed view of the stairs ahead of them, even if that means requesting help to manage a bulky load.
- Eliminate uneven floor surfaces.
- Promote safe work in cramped working spaces. Avoid awkward positions, and use equipment that makes lifts less awkward.
- Walking/Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Rule Page.
- 29 CFR 1910.22, General requirements (Walking/Working Surfaces). OSHA Standard.
- Inspection Guidance for Inpatient Healthcare Settings. (June 25, 2015). OSHA memorandum establishing guidance for inspections conducted in inpatient healthcare settings.
- Small Business Safety and Health Handbook. OSHA Publication 2209, (2022).