Chapter 5 – Hazard Abatement

Hazard abatement is another key element in any safety program.

One easy way to prevent injuries is to keep guards in place on all machinery at all times. Unguarded machinery accounts for 67% of lost-time accidents. These accidents can and should be eliminated. No machine is unguardable. If guards must be removed for maintenance or repair, require in your safety policy and work rules that the guards be replaced before the machine is put back into operation. It may take a few extra minutes to replace the guards, but it only takes a few seconds to sever an arm, finger, or leg. Stress this point to your employees and encourage them to talk about the consequences of having a hand caught in a V-belt or roller chain drive. This could be the topic of a weekly safety meeting.

Development of a lockout/tagout program for your machinery can be the most important hazard abatement tool. A lockout/tagout program requires a worker to turn off the power and lock the electrical switch box in the “off” position before attempting to work, clean, or unchoke a machine. Several major accidents have occurred which could have been prevented with a lockout/ tagout program. Machines have been turned on while workers were completely inside.

Slips and falls are a third major cause of accidents. They can be reduced by treating walking/working surfaces with non-slip paint and adhesive backed non-slip material. Other engineering modifications of the workplace may be required in some circumstances.

You should also provide your workers with information on the stress and strain of muscles. They should be educated in the proper way to perform certain tasks, especially lifting. Twenty percent of serious accidents are the result of improper lifting techniques.

You should establish a timetable for the periodic inspection of all equipment and the review of all work practices. These timetables can be adjusted according to the season. You may wish to conduct them weekly during the growing season. A checklist for the inspection should be developed. The manager or superintendent should conduct the inspections, review each other’s checklists, and correct any faults found. Managers and employees should beencouraged to report potential safety hazards that develop between inspections. This will help to prevent accidents from occurring. The remainder of this chapter provides information on lockout/tagout programs, slip and fall prevention, and examples of inspection checklists.


Slip & Fall Prevention Recommendations


Slip and fall accidents are the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States exceeded only by motor vehicle accidents. Over 13,000 persons die from falls every year.

Most of your exposures to slips and falls can be minimized simply by treating walking/working surfaces to make them non-slip. Non-slip paint and adhesive backed non-slip surfaces will usually be the most economical treatment. In some cases, engineering modifications such as installation of platforms, modification of ladders, and installation of additional handholds or footsteps will be required.



  1. Non-slip work surfaces should be applied to all steps, floorboards, etc. on trucks, tractors, and forklifts. This can be either painted on or the use of adhesive backed coverings can be employed.
  2. Concrete floors should be cleaned and a non-slip surface applied if necessary. The paint treatment is recommended since it is the most easily cleaned.
  3. All the ladder rungs and stair treads throughout the facility should be painted with non-slip paint or covered with adhesive backed grit sheets.
  4. Heavy duty foot wipes should be installed just inside doorways. In addition, mud scrapers should be installed. Finally, the floor surfaces inside the building should be coated with non-slip treatment for the first 10′.
  5. Floor holes such as pits and augur troughs should be treated as follows:
    a. The edges of all pits should be color contrasted by the use of yellow strips 4 inches wide painted on the concrete.
    b. Where pits are to be left unattended, barricades must be placed in front of the pit to warn persons. Place the barricade back far enough that if the person runs into it he will have space to avoid falling into the pit.
  6. Oil leaks should be promptly repaired and the oil cleaned off floors. Oil on the soles of shoes can cause a fall elsewhere.
  7. Install an additional stair tread at the top of any stairway to prevent a person’s foot from slipping through the wide opening. All treads on a stairway must be equally spaced.
  8. Modify ladders to allow plenty of toe space (7 inches required). Restricted toe space may a cause a foot to slip off the ladder step.



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