Lever & Ecker, PLLC June 3, 2015 Slip Trip & Fall
With over three million disabling injuries each year, it is extremely important for us to know the causes for slip, trip, and fall accidents. Although these accidents can happen anywhere, work-related injuries are all too common, being the second most common cause of lost-workday injuries in hospitals. Accounting for 12 to 15 percent of Workers’ Compensation costs, and being approximately 25% of all serious disabling work injuries, where are the most dangerous places these accidents are occurring?
Slips, trips, and falls can happen anywhere. Workplaces often have common areas that are potentially hazardous.
One such area are walkways with cords, wires, and cables stretching across them. It is important to secure appliances so that its cords are not crossing a floor that may have employee traffic, creating an obvious, and easily avoidable, tripping hazard. If the layout of appliances must be wired in such a way that it must cross a walkway, there are security measures that must be taken, such as approved cable protectors.
Even cords from phones and computers can pose a tripping hazard. Many employees have wires falling onto the floor from their electronic devices, which can easily be snagged on and cause tripping. This can be minimized by the use of cable management and cable organizing products.
Workplaces are not the only places people are susceptible to these injuries. It is equally important to maintain this type of cable management at home.
In addition to walkways, stairways pose falling hazard. A number of times, stairs do not have accompanying stair rails, causing people to stumble, lose their balance, or fall, resulting in injury.
A couple of very easily avoidable causes are often places with open desk drawers or open filing cabinets.
There are multiple conditions that could occur in nearly any type of room, including, but not limited to: poor lighting, wet floors, narrow stairs, torn carpeting, broken or changes in flooring, holes in the ground, unmarked sloped pavement, or uneven steps.
Where such conditions occur, it is important for the proper business, home, or property owners to make these conditions obvious. Using signs, bright paint, or other systems to attract attention to potential dangers, is a crucial step to take. In addition to simply alerting patrons, visitors, or anybody who may be in the area, owners must reasonably and practically maintain their grounds, making any repairs necessary.
There are countless causes and conditions that can cause a slip, trip, and fall injury. We know that slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of accidents and that they cause 15% of all accidental deaths — making them second only to motor vehicles for cause of accidental death — but what are the worst causes?
It is all too easy to accidentally leave a surface or floor wet. Not properly cleaning and drying it is a common way to leave the floor as a safety hazard. It is important to use signage to mark that floors or surfaces may be wet.
Although it can be tough to maintain control over conditions outside, it is imperative to have tools and resources to immediately take appropriate measures. Having bins or containers with safety equipment is a great way to stay on top of safety, with safety equipment including salts or chemicals to create traction against snow or rain.
50% of accidental deaths in the home are caused by a fall, with most of them happening at ground level and not from an elevation. This can include any previously listed causes — cables across walkways, poor lighting, narrow stairways and/or stairways without railings, wet surfaces, unanchored or loose mats, ladders, etc. — and may be harder to have industrial safety precautions, but still taking any precaution possible is essential. In addition to such precautions, having a means of necessary communication is especially critical for the elderly. According to the CDC in 2013, approximately 29,500 citizens over the age of 65 died as a result of a slip, trip, or fall injury. This figure is up from more than 15,000 in 2005, which is nearly double the amount of accidental deaths from falls in the home in 1995.
More than 1.4 million people 65 or older living in nursing homes. Only about 5% of adults 65 or older live in a nursing home, but nursing home residents account for about 20% in this age group of accidental deaths from falls. A typical home may report hundreds of falls, but many go unreported.
Perhaps the most obvious of causes, 17% of falls were from elevated heights, according to an analysis of Workers’ Compensation records. Falls from elevation accounted for 26% of the injuries in certain occupations. 32% of all of these elevated falls were from ladders, with 25% from vehicles or mobile equipment. Falls from elevation are actually less frequent than same-level falls, but they account for a higher percentage of severe injuries than same-level falls.
Of all fracture-causing falls, the most serious place affected by slip, trip, or fall injuries is the hip, leading to the greatest health problems and the greatest number of deaths. More than 250,000 hip fractures are reported every single year, with 95% of those occurring from falls.
While the hip is often the most serious among fractures, the back tends to be the most frequent injury during falls. After the back, joints — wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles, knees, hips , etc. –accounted for 32% of injury during falls according to one report by the University of Florida.
Most common of injuries from slips, trips, and falls are musculoskeletal, as well as cuts and bruises.
Finally, of course, prevention of slips, trips, and falls is key. Many different methods have been discussed throughout this article, but it is also important to learn what to do in case a slip, trip, or fall does occur. Since the possibility of an injury will always exist, it is recommended to learn the best procedures when facing this situation.
Tuck your chin in and turn your head, then throw an arm up. It is always better to land on a limb than your head.
Twist or roll your body while you are falling, so you land on your side instead of your back.
It is best to spread the impact of your fall. Try not to break the fall with your hands or your elbows. Keep your knees, elbows, and wrist bent.