Friday, April 27, 2012

Stair Safety - Stair Treads (not filled in)!

You will eventually come across this at a job site.  You have work on multiple floors and the stairs are installed, however the treads are not filled in.  What should you do? 
First of all, you cannot walk on or use stairs in this condition.  The treads need to be appropriately filled in.  They should either be temporarily filled in usually with wood or sometimes Styrofoam or permanently filled in with concrete.  Either way, until the treads are filled in, they are a trip and fall hazard.  If the stairs are filled in with temporary measures, you need to ensure that the temporary fill is even and level and still does not pose a trip and fall hazard. 

If you come across a stairwell that has stair treads that are not filled in, you should do the following:  Notify your lead supervisor of the hazard.  The lead supervisor should in turn notify the general contractor of the hazard so that measures can be taken to fix the hazard.  All of our employees need to be made aware of the hazard and notified to not use the stairs until the treads are appropriately filled in and the stairs have been determined as safe to use.  The stairwell should then be closed down as soon as possible.  It is not necessarily your responsibility to close the stairwell, however, it is your responsibility to stay off the stairs and to notify your lead supervisor so that safety measures can be implemented.  “Stairwell Closed” signs and barricades shall be installed at all levels of access to the stairs.  Caution tape alone is not considered a good safety measure as many people tend to just walk under the caution tape and not pay much attention to it. 

Many employees may be tempted to use the unsafe stairs as they are right there in front of them.  They say to themselves, “I will only be on the stairs for a minute and no one will see me.”  This is why the stairs need to be closed down, so that no one is tempted to use them.  If an I.D.I. employee is found using stairs with the treads not filled in, that is an unsafe act and the employee shall be issued a written safety warning for his/her own safety. 

Also, all employees should be informed of how they should access the other floors.  Is there another set of stairs that have been completed?  Is there ladder access to the other floors?