Slip-and-fall incidents sound like something straight out of a slapstick routine – but in the context of how they can cause serious injuries, they’re anything but funny.
According to the National Flooring Safety Institute, slips and falls are the top cause of workers’ compensation claims and the leading cause of occupational injury for people 55 and older. Annually, one in every three Americans over 65 will experience a fall – half of those are repeat fallers.
Knowing how common slip-and-fall accidents are, how can you reduce your risk of getting into one?
Which conditions can lead to slip and fall accidents?
The first step in avoiding slip-and-fall accidents is learning to recognize what conditions can lead to them. Apart from slippery surfaces such as icy pavements, other less-obvious examples of high slip-and-trip risk conditions include:
- Uncleaned spills on the floor
- Loose and uneven flooring
- Bumpy carpeting
- Holes in the ground
- Unsecured cords in areas of high foot traffic
- Dim lighting that can prevent passersby from checking their footing
While property owners are obligated to put up signage (i.e., “Wet Floor” signs) to warn anyone to avoid an area that could lead to a slip and fall, you should still be alert to your surroundings.
What can I do to prevent injury?
Ensuring that a property’s floors are clear of any slip and trip hazards is one way to reduce accident risks. But if you don’t own the property and you see a slip-and-fall hazard, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have suggested several tips, including:
- Use handrails: Handrails are more than just decorative pieces. Don’t hesitate to hold onto a rail if you’re having difficulty walking up a flight of stairs or a ramp.
- Open ladders fully: Due to the hinged construction of ladders, they risk suddenly closing if not adequately secured and could cause injuries to the climber and anyone next to them. Ensure that you fully expand the extenders and that the rubber feet of the ladder are stable before use.
- Inform the one in charge: if you see a potential slip and fall hazard, don’t hesitate to raise the issue with the personnel in charge.
Like any accident, slips and falls can lead to severe injuries that can take time and money to recover from. Always look for potential hazards and ensure that the floors you walk on are free from impediments.