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Falls from the same height

In all workplaces, workers may fall from the same height.

When the floor is slippery because it has just been cleaned or when it is in poor condition (holes, creased or rippled carpet), workers are at risk of falling. Floors in kitchens, factories or hospitals may also be dirty from water, oil, food, waste or biological fluids that can make the floor very slippery. On construction sites, the ground can be cluttered, in poor condition or slippery due to weather conditions.

The employer is responsible for implementing preventive measures. For their part, workers must rigorously apply them. Falls from the same height can result in sprains, strains, fractures and other injuries. By applying the required preventive measures, they can easily be avoided.

Safety rules

Mandatory safety measures

CNESST inspectors will be particularly attentive to situations that can lead to falls from the same height and will ensure that employers implement the necessary preventive measures.

To prevent falls from the same height, employers must ensure that entranceways, walkways, passageways, floors and workstations are kept in good repair, are not slippery and are kept clear of obstructions, both indoors and outdoors.

Other measures

Depending on the tasks to be performed, one or more of the following measures must be taken by the employer to ensure the safety of the worker:

make sure the premises are properly lit

mark walkways and make sure they are wide enough to allow materials to be handled safely

make sure there is sufficient clearance between machinery, installations or stacks of materials to allow the work to be performed safely

make sure materials are stacked so that they do not impede movement in walkways, passageways and aisles

protect electrical wires, extension cords and flexible hoses on the floor

remove refuse and waste material from workstations so that it does not cause any inconvenience, using appropriate containers or an inclined or vertical chute

make sure workplaces are laid out so as to protect workers, for example by:

  • installing non-slip flooring in areas where there is a risk of slipping
  • installing visual markers to indicate differences in floor height
  • choosing a type of flooring suitable for the activities carried out during the construction of a new establishment or during the renovation of an existing establishment
     
  • s. 51.1 of the LSST

make sure work is organized safely, for example by:

  • scheduling work and allowing the time required to perform tasks in order to avoid rushing
  • establishing a program for workplace maintenance, including parking lots and access roads
  • establishing work procedures for managing spills that include prompt cleaning, designation of a responsible person and the installation of signage until the spill has been cleaned up
  • using appropriate products for the type of flooring for floor maintenance
     
  • s. 51.3 of the LSST

identify, control or eliminate situations that could cause workers to fall from the same height, for example by:

  • regularly inspecting workplaces to detect and correct these situations
  • making it compulsory to wear shoes with non-slip soles in workplaces with a high risk of slipping due to the nature of the activities
  • providing removable spikes during the winter period to workers who are required to visit customers outside the workplace
     
  • s. 51.5 of the LSST

inform workers about the risk of falls from the same height and about safe work methods

Specific measures for a sector of activity

Food service and processing

The floors of kitchens, butchers' shops and food processing plants must always be carefully maintained to prevent falls. Fat from cooking oils, water or blood from carcasses can make the floor very slippery.

To prevent falls from the same height:

  • wash the floor near the fryers with a powerful degreaser and very hot water
  • preferably place the fryers in an area of the kitchen where fewer people go by
  • install garbage cans in easily accessible locations
  • pick up anything that falls on the ground immediately
  • at the dishwashing station, install a specially designed water mat to prevent the formation of puddles
  • remove and clean the mat regularly
  • maintain the dishwasher to prevent water leakage
  • if there is no mat, use a scraper to direct water to the drain
  • keep the floor clear
  • in a butchers’ shop, do not use cardboard boxes to absorb blood that falls on the floor. keep floors clear and absorb liquids with a mop