Both the new OSHA ruling and the ANSI standards look to prevent slips and falls through regular measurement and recording of floor condition and by keeping floor condition high through effective and regular maintenance.
But who will do the auditing? It is anticipated that OSHA’s new walkway ruling will require employers to contract with a third-party or designate a staff member to oversee floor safety. This “Qualified Person” will measure the slip resistance of floors and determine what steps may be needed to improve its traction, says Johnson.
The ruling will define a Qualified Person as:
“Any person designated by the employer who is knowledgeable about and familiar with all relevant manufacturers’ specifications and recommendations; is capable of identifying existing or potential hazards in specific surroundings or working conditions which may be hazardous or dangerous to employees; and has been trained for the specific task assigned. When work is to be supervised by a qualified person, the qualified person shall have the necessary authority to carry out the assigned work responsibilities.”
A Qualified Person is the minimum designation a person can achieve. He can also receive additional training to become a Certified Walkway Auditor.
The existing ANSI standards already define what these audits should look like and how often they should take place, says Johnson.
“They need to be aware of the different surfaces in a facility and treat them accordingly,” he says.
Beyond that, auditors must test floors in high-risk areas of a facility and give them “closer attention than they would the middle of the floor,” Johnson says. These might include high traffic areas, pinch points, funnel points, entries, and turning points where people might go around a corner or change direction.
How often these audits take place depends on the facility, its traffic patterns and the type of work performed in the facility, says Johnson.
“If it’s a high-contamination area with a lot of foot traffic, you might opt to do it four times a year just to be safe,” he says. “Another type of facility may only need it once a year.”
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POSTED ON: 4/17/2013