Before the Fall: What You Can Do to Prevent Slip, Trip & Falls

Lever & Ecker April 14, 2015 Slip Trip & Fall

Each year about 40 million American citizens will find themselves visiting a hospital emergency department as a result of suffering an unintentional injury. Many of these injuries are due to falls caused by slipping or tripping, as these are some of the most common accidents leading to injury in America.

Additionally, many of these fall accidents can have serious consequences. Recent research suggests that there are approximately 30,000 deaths caused by unintentional falls per year, which is just under 10 deaths for every 100,000 citizens.

These figures are comparable to motor vehicle traffic deaths. For example, in 2011 there were 33,804 motor vehicle traffic deaths, which is just over 10 deaths per 100,000 people.

These statistics are meant to highlight the fact that although most people would probably think that they are less likely to meet a serious injury or be killed by a slip or fall, than suffer a serious injury while in a car, the odds suggest you would be wrong to not treat the risks with similar respect.

 

Slip, Trip & Fall Accident Awareness & Prevention

Trips and falls account for 30% of all employee accidents in the workplace. It is important to be aware of how common these accident really are so as not to make the mistake of underestimating the risks.

The statistics of slip, trip and fall accidents should give you cause for concern as unintentional injuries or deaths are more common than many realize. That being said, many of these injuries can be prevented by following some very basic and sensible safety procedures.

Here are some tips and guidelines to help reduce the likelihood of a slip, trip or fall occurring in the first place.

Avoiding Slip & Fall Accidents

The basic science of a slip is that it happens when there is insufficient friction between your feet and the walking surface, creating the perfect environment for a slip-related accident.

Typical hazards to be wary of are wet and oily surfaces, debris or liquid spillages that have not been cleared up properly and loose rugs and mats. The weather can also play a part with icy and wet exposed areas creating an dangerous slip hazard.

A slip generally occurs when you experience an unexpected change in the surface beneath you, such as going from floor to a slick surface without accounting for or expecting the difference in underfoot stability that is going to occur.

Make sure you look out for these hazards at all times and provide temporary warning signs in the workplace to alert employees of any high-risk area or surface that they are about to encounter.

Common Tripping Hazards

There are a number of situations and scenarios where you could suffer a trip and fall accident. An uneven floor surface or a trip hazard left on the floor can quickly lead to a painful and damaging fall.

Ways to avoid a trip incident include making sure that pathways are clear of any obstructions such as debris or loose wires and in an office environment, making sure that items like filing cabinets remain closed and positioned where they do not cause an obstruction.

Rushing and hurrying, especially on stairs, should be avoided at all costs and poor lighting is also a common cause of a trip incident. Not being able to see where you are going and therefore failing to notice what is beneath or ahead of you is often attributed to poor light conditions, so give this factor due consideration if you want to reduce the risk.

Being Aware

It is interesting to note that about 60% of all falls actually happen on the same level. Most people would probably consider they are at greater risk from a fall when they are at a height, such as on a ladder or climbing some stairs. The fact that falls from a height account for about 40% of falling accidents highlights the risk attached to these activities. It also shows that you should be equally vigilant about the prospect of injury when you are not in an elevated position.

There are countless ways to experience a fall.  Always pay attention to what you are doing and where you are going.

Carrying objects that obscure your view or standing on a chair to reach something are two examples of common accidents that could have been prevented with a bit of common sense applied and consideration for the potential risk involved with these actions.

Always Think Safety

It should always be your goal to be safety conscious and to avoid becoming one of the statistics, regardless of whether you are at home or in the workplace.

An accidental injury can have devastating consequences not only for you but for your family and work colleagues. Try to act safely and in a way that you would want others around you to behave, which will help to promote a climate of safety and help to reduce the risk of an accident.

Many accidents tend to happen as a result of a combination of factors, however, if everyone follows basic safety procedures, the odds of an accident occurring can be significantly reduced.

It is definitely better to be safe than sorry, as 30 million American citizens will testify to each year. If you are unsure of any of the safety protocols at your workplace or you have suffered any injury at work, it is always best to discuss your circumstances with specialists that can help.

Resources and useful sites

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/accidental-injury.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/safechild/

https://www.osha.gov/

http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/safety-health/