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How to avoid slips, trips, and falls in the workplace
The U.S Department of Labor says slip and falls make up the majority of general industry accidents. As much as 15% of all accidental deaths in America are due to some sort of slip and fall. The likelihood of this type of accident rises among the elderly population. This is second only to motor vehicle accidents. In fact, 25% of all reported injury claims are due to slip and falls, resulting in 95 million lost work days per year.
Here are some other facts and statistics about workplace slip, trips and falls from the National Floor Safety Institute:
- Slip and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims in the United States
- Out of all workplace falls, 5% of men and 11% of women died from their injuries
- Slick floors were the main cause of injury in 85% of workers’ compensation claims
- Out of all slip and fall accidents, 22% of patients required more than 31 days away from work.
Video courtesy of the National Floor Safety Institute
Those are the stats. But what if it happens to you?
People like to think a slip and fall is funny — like slipping on a banana peel. But falling accidents, far from being funny, can actually cause serious injury and even death.
Common causes of slip and fall accidents in the workplace
Most of us have experienced a time when we slipped, tripped, fell or swan-dived toward the floor because we weren’t paying attention. The incident might have been caused by a slippery surface, or perhaps your shoes lost traction. This can result in anything from a light bruise to serious pain because of a bone fracture.
Here is a list of common situations that can cause slip and fall accidents to happen:
- Greasy, wet, powdery or freshly waxed floors
- Loose flooring
- Uneven surfaces
- Wet, muddy or greasy shoes
- Weather hazards (e.g., ice, pine needles, sleet, wet leaves)
- Tripping over electrical cords or computer cables
- Desk or filing cabinet drawers left open
- No handrails on steps
- Damaged or uneven steps
Slip and fall prevention at work
Workplaces are among the most common environments where slip and fall accidents occur. Below are five guidelines to help you stay safe at work and to protect other employees.
- Practice excellent housekeeping techniques. Sweep, vacuum, organize, nail down, secure — do whatever you must to maintain a clean working space. Imagine your mother over your shoulder, making a comment when you don’t put something away. A well-organized and clean work environment isn’t just pleasant, it’s much safer.
- Wear proper shoes. Your footwear should be appropriate for the environment. If you spend your days around machinery, don’t wear strappy high heels. That’s the time for steel-toed boots. When purchasing shoes, look for the type of sole that corresponds with the floor where you spend the majority of your work day.
- Maintain proper lighting. Keep all areas well lit, and quickly replace any bulbs that are burned out or not working.
- Eliminate slippery surfaces. Someone at your office or company should be responsible for checking floors and surfaces on a regular basis to ensure that any spills are cleaned up immediately. If there’s inclement weather, the entryways and walkways should also be monitored for potential hazards.
- Remove obstacles from aisles and doorways. Avoid leaving boxes and clutter in places where people might trip. Take a few extra minutes after work to put things away, like trailing cables and other items.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall injury at work, contact an experienced attorney to guide you through this process. Places of business have legal responsibilities to both the public and their employees. Find a qualified attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve.
- Slip and Fall Injuries in the Elderly
- Everyday Slip and Fall Injuries to Be On Guard Against
- Proving Fault in a Slip and Fall Injury - 3 Critical Questions
See our guide Choosing a personal injury attorney.