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Slipping and Sliding Through the Big Game and Workday – Health and Safety

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Updated: February 15, 2023

The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles were scheduled to play on the Biggest Stage, but it looked more like they were playing on the Biggest Ice Rink. Both teams appeared to be slipping and sliding on the nearly $800,000-worth turf, drawing significant media attention and fan criticism of the condition of the field. In fact, multiple players have switched their cleats in a futile attempt to get more traction.

What Next While Eagles coach Nick Sirianni was careful not to blame the outcome of the game on field conditions, the situation got my employment lawyer brain thinking about workplace safety. What if such slippery conditions permeate the average American workplace?

According to the regulation…

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) stated mission, “Congress has been created [OSHA] ensure safe and healthy working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, awareness, education and assistance. OSHA, part of the U.S. Department of Labor, maintains general industry regulations on walking and work surfaces to protect against hazards and prevent injury from slips, trips, falls and other workplace accidents.

While OSHA has no specific formal training requirements for slips, trips and falls, employers are required to train employees to recognize and avoid unsafe work conditions. Employers are also required, in part, to:

Employers are also required, in part, to:

  • Ensure that walking/work surfaces are regularly inspected and maintained in a safe condition.
  • Ensure hazardous conditions on work/walking surfaces are corrected or repaired before employees use the surfaces again.
  • Ensure that if the fix/repair cannot be done immediately, the hazard is secured to prevent employees from using that surface until it is fixed/repaired.
  • Ensure that when any correction or repair affects the structural integrity of the walking/working surface, a qualified person performs or supervises the correction or repair.

Preparing for game day

According to OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, slips, trips and falls cause nearly 700 deaths each year, not to mention several more common types of non-fatal workplace injuries such as sprains, strains, scrapes, cuts and bruises. To help prevent accidents and injuries, the agency maintains recommended training materials and training recommendations for employers.

These materials are informative, but it is also important that employers regularly emphasize that employees must wear proper footwear in the workplace, use proper signage when a hazard or spill is present, ensure spills and hazards are promptly addressed , promptly remove warning signage once such problems are resolved and take care to arrange adequate lighting and cleaning generally.

While a yellow warning signal on the pitch would have been a treat, even a change of boots didn’t seem to do the players much good in Sunday’s game. In any case, the conditions on the pitch certainly didn’t stop the fans from enjoying the match live and on the small screen.

To summarize: cost of a ticket to The Big Game = $6,000 to $27,500; cost of premium turf carefully grown for nearly 2 years = $800,000; warm, fuzzy feelings from watching Donna Kelce hug her boyfriends, Travis and Jason, after watching them battle it out in the field = priceless.

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding the specific circumstances.

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