Exposes Cables: A Common Fall-Related Hazard in Workplaces

Exposes Cables: A Common Fall-Related Hazard in Workplaces

Is your workplace cluttered with exposed cables? Whether they are used to transmit power or data, cables are found in nearly all workplaces. From manufacturing facilities to corporate offices, you'll find cables such as these just about everywhere. If they are exposed, however, they may create a fall hazard for workers.

The Rise of Fall Injuries

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are one of the most common types of injuries sustained by workers. For every four injuries sustained by workers, one of them will consist of a fall injury. Based on these statistics, falls are among the most common types of injuries in the workplace.

While falls can occur in any environment, they are particularly common in workplaces with exposed cables. Workplaces with exposed cables often have higher rates of fall injuries than those without exposed cables. How do exposed cables lead to fall injuries exactly?

How Exposed Cables Can Lead to Fall Injuries

Exposed cables create a fall hazard for workers by blocking their walking paths. Most people don't look at the ground when they walk. Rather, they look forward. As a result, a worker may unknowingly walk into an exposed cable, resulting in a fall injury. The worker may trip over the exposed cable, at which point he or she will fall to the ground.

Preventing Fall Injuries From Exposed Cables

You can protect against fall injuries in the workplace by concealing cables so that they aren't exposed in workers' paths. Rather than running a cable directly across the center of your workplace, for instance, perhaps you can run it around the perimeter of the walls. With the cable along the walls, it won't be in workers' path. Therefore, it won't pose a fall hazard.

Another idea is to eliminate -- or at least reduce -- the use of cables in the workplace. If you currently use corded power tools, for example, perhaps you can switch to battery-powered power tools.

Keep in mind that you shouldn't cover exposed cables with rugs or carpet. Although this may sound like a simple way to prevent workers from tripping over them, it can cause other problems, such as a fire. Cables produce heat. If you cover a cable with a rug or carpet, the heat won't be able to escape. Instead, it will build up underneath the rug or carpet, potentially setting it ablaze.

Jul 8th 2020

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