The manufacturing and automotive industries have been a significant part of Detroit’s economy for decades. Factory owners rely on the hard work of their employees. Therefore, it is important that they provide employees with a safe workplace. Specifically, employers can take steps to prevent falls in order to protect workers and avoid a potential lawsuit and/or citation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Keep the factory floor clean
Making sure your business’s premises are free of spills and clutter may seem obvious, but it is important for preventing falls in the workplace. OSHA has general requirements addressing walking and working surfaces. Specifically, all areas of the factory must be clean, sanitary and dry. If the area is prone to wetness then proper drainage, mats or a raised platform should be made available to workers. Passageways and aisles should be a certain distance from machinery and mechanical equipment. Covers or guardrails should be installed if there are pits, tanks or vats in the factory.
Safety on elevated walkways
Many factories have elevated walkways that could present a fall hazard. OSHA rules require that these walkways have “standard railings” that are at least 42 inches from the highest rail to the platform floor. There must be a top rail, a middle rail and posts. Standard railings are required on any open-sided floor, runway, platform or wall opening that is at least four feet above ground level. If the floor has holes, is open-sided or if it is above moving machinery then a toe board is required.
Keep stairways safe
OSHA regulations are strict when it comes to stairways between floors, around machinery or leading to or from openings. OSHA rules may require fixed stairways and generally prohibit spiral or winding stairways. Fixed stairways must be able to handle five times their anticipated load and must be capable of carrying at least 1,000 pounds. Fixed stairways must be at least 22 inches wide and be fixed at an angle of 30 to 50 degrees.
Learn more about factory legal issues
As this shows, factory owners have many regulations to follow to prevent falls in the workplace. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on the manufacturing and automotive industries may be a good starting point for employers who have questions about the law.