Each year, around one million people have to go to the emergency room as a result of slip or fall accidents. The effects of these accidents vary, ranging from some bumps and bruises to broken bones. But some are even fatal. The vast majority of these accidents is preventable, however. The six most common causes of slips and falls are, to some people, quite surprising. But they do adequately show how easy it would be to prevent them.
1. Wet and Uneven Surfaces
By far the most common cause of slip and fall accidents globally is due to wet and uneven surfaces. In this country, they account for 55% of all of these types of accidents. Walking can be hazardous, in other words, particularly if the following situations are present:
- Loose floorboards
- Cluttered floors
- Parking lot potholes
- Defective sidewalks
- Torn carpeting
- Poorly constructed staircases
- Recently waxed or mopped floors
- Moisture collection
- Loose mats
Unfortunately, these are all common occurrences in domestic, commercial, industrial and public places. This is why these accidents are so common. Preventing them is everybody’s responsibility. Keeping a floor uncluttered should be something everyone attempts to do. Good housekeeping is vital and regular checks should be made to ensure surfaces are safe. If an issue is identified, it should be clearly sign posted and fixed.
2. Weather Conditions
Sadly, it is impossible to control the weather. Yet, weather leads to a huge number of slip and fall accidents. Engaging in winter safety procedures in particular is very important, although dangers are presented not just by wintery weather. Property owners and municipalities alike have a legal responsibility to shovel sidewalks, plow streets and salt walkways and steps. If they haven’t done so and a person sustains an injury, they could be held liable. Indeed, some of the biggest slip and fall compensation claims have been awarded as a direct result of this type of negligence.
3. Improper Training
Slips and falls often happen in the workplace, most notably the construction industry. In many cases, this is caused by improper training. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), together with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, have created a fact sheet that shows how easy it is to prevent slip and fall accidents at work. A key element in this is training. Every employee in high risk industries should be properly trained to use the tools and equipment necessary for the job. Additionally, each job should be properly planned and workers should be provided with the tools they need in order to remain safe. Failure to do so could leave the employer or contractor liable for damages.
4. Nursing Home Neglect
A very worrying fact is that one of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents is caused by nursing home neglect. Elderly people have a significantly reduced sense of balance, leaving them at increased risk of falling. Indeed, according to the CDC, one in three people over the age of 65 falls each year. Unfortunately, the chance of the injury being life-threatening is also significantly increased. They usually result into hip fractures. It is a very worrying statistic that many administrators and aids in nursing homes to do not assist and monitor their residents properly. As a result, it is one of the most likely places for a slip and fall accident to occur.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, some 24% of all slips and falls are caused by improper footwear. This does not mean that only people who wear six inch heels are at risk, however. Indeed, sneakers or work boots can be equally dangerous. The big risk is presented when shoes do not offer the right type of traction. This can lead to slips and falls, not just at work but also at home or even in public.
This is another very surprising statistic. However, according to the National Floor Safety Institute, around 3% of slip and fall cases are actually fraudulent. In some cases, this is because the stage for the fall was set. For instance, someone may purposefully spill oil in a grocery store and slip on it. Alternatively, some people seek damages for an injury from a party that is not liable for it. For instance, someone may have sustained an injury at home but would then claim it actually happened at work. Finally, there are cases where a slip and fall injury is claimed but it never occurred at all. Fraud cases are incredibly rare, thankfully, but they do list in the top 6 causes of slip and fall accidents.
It should be clear that the vast majority of these accidents could be prevented with proper care and attention. In most cases, being careful and paying attention are not costly either. Indeed, when compared to the potential damages that have to be paid to someone who sustains an injury, providing training, adequate footwear, focusing on good housekeeping and ensuring any hazards are clearly signposted cost almost nothing.