Definition - What does Walking-Working Surface mean?
Walking-working surfaces are those vertical or horizontal surfaces (typically staircases or ladders of some kind) that employees or workers use to access certain areas at work.
These areas could include large tanks, processing tubs, or large mixing pots. Also, a certain height is required to reach their opening, which is where walking-working surfaces become even more necessary.
Safeopedia explains Walking-Working Surface
Walking-working surfaces are very important parts of any manufacturing industry. An employer certainly would not build these surfaces with concrete because any future alterations at the plant may require significant change in the need for walking-working surfaces. Such surfaces are installed afterward if necessary.
It is important to note that the ladders used for construction purposes or used by the firefighting department do not fall under the category of walking-working surfaces. Instead, the category includes all other kinds of ladders that are more like staircases.
Since these surfaces are used for the sole purpose of work, safety is of utmost importance. Many workplace accidents tend to occur in the form of slips, trips, and falls due to inadequate safety measures. These accidents can be avoided by regularly maintaining the walking-working surfaces, as per the instructions from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Walking-working surfaces are mostly made of metallic materials, and there are certain standards that must be followed while installing them. First, the surfaces must be strong enough to bear the maximum load of the procedural requirements carried out at that particular point where they need to be installed. The standard height and width of the steps should also be appropriate. Even the slightest misplacement of a step could lead to a serious accident at the workplace.
With the updated rules from the workplace safety authorities or OSHA, all walking-working surfaces must have a corrosion-resistant coating. This type of coating is important because there could be a massive use of water or other liquid at the workplace that could cause corrosion, and that would reduce the strength of the walking-working surface. Updated rules for the surfaces require that they must be able to withstand four times the maximum intended load. The safety department must inspect all the walking-working surfaces in the industry before the start of working hours as well.
To avoid accidental slips, the walking-working surfaces must also be slip-resistant. Railing alongside the walking-working surfaces is important because it gives the worker support. There must a wide-enough opening for the comfortable transportation of goods, and the entrance of the stairway or walking-working surface must not contain any hazardous objects that could impede a safe entry.