Walking-Working Surfaces

The focus of this safety and health page is limited to the hazards associated with walking-working surfaces in general industry. Included under this heading are the requirements for fall protection as it pertains to general industry applications. For a discussion of fall protection in construction, go to the fall protection A-Z safety and health topic page

Walking-Working Surfaces

Hazard Overview

Hazard Overview

What is a walking-working surface?

A walking-working surface is defined as any horizontal or vertical surface on or through which an employee walks, works, or gains access to a work area or workplace location.

What are the hazards associated with walking-working surfaces?

Employees accessing or working from walking-working surfaces that are not properly maintained or constructed can suffer sprains, strains and broken bones. Where employees must work from elevated platforms or open-sided floors, falls from unprotected areas can also result in death.

Solutions

Solutions

What can I do to protect myself?

Employees should always examine any walking or working surface for the presence of slippery conditions, non-intact surfaces, or unguarded openings or open sides before stepping onto it. Workers working from elevated platforms should be sure to wear and properly use any required fall arrest or position restraint systems. Any fall arrest or postion restraint devices worn by employees must be examined for defects prior to using it.

What resources are available to assist employers?

  • The walking-working surfaces presentation is available for workplaces to assist in training their staff. The presentation should be modified to address site-specific conditions and hazards.

More information related to fall protection can be found on the fall protection A-Z topics page. In addition, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC). The education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request.

 

Regulations

Regulations

What standards apply?

Additional OSH standards that may apply include:

  • 29 CFR 1904.7 - general recording criteria

  • 29 CFR 1904.39 - reporting fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye as a result of work-related incidents to OSHA

Learn More

Learn More

Where can I learn more?

If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to ask.osh@labor.nc.gov or by calling 919-807-2875.