One of the most common preventable injuries in the workplace is slip, trip, and fall injuries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), businesses were given more than 6,000 citations in 2015 for failure to meet requirements in fall protection standards.
The US Department of Labor reports that from 2013 to 2014, there was more than 9% increase in slip, trip and fall accidents and that the construction industry has the highest frequency of both non-fatal and fatal slip, trip, and fall accidents.
How Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents Occur
There are a number of different factors that can cause slips, trips, and falls. As mentioned earlier, most of these accidents are preventable if appropriate safety guidelines are provided.
Slips take place when traction or friction between your feet and the surface is not enough.
Some of the common causes of slips include oily or wet floors, unanchored or loose mats, flooring without the same degree of traction on all areas, weather hazards and occasional spills.
Trips occur when you lose balance as a result of your foot colliding, hitting or striking an object, and you eventually fall.
Some of the common causes of trips include poor lighting, obstructed view, clutter in your path, uncovered cables, wrinkled carpeting, uneven walking surfaces, like thresholds and steps, and open bottom drawers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls can occur in different types of occupational settings.
It states that in most circumstances regarding fall accidents in the work environment, unstable, cluttered or slippery working or walking surfaces, wall openings and floor holes, unprotected edges, misused fall protection and unsafely positioned ladders are involved.
Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls
There are a number of effective ways to prevent slip, trip and fall accidents both at work and your home. Here is a look at some of the best tips to prevent these accidents:
Good Housekeeping: The first and most fundamental way to prevent potentially serious slip, trip, and fall accidents is good housekeeping. This includes the following:
- Make sure that all passageways, work areas, service areas and storerooms are clean and clutter free.
- Clean all spills as soon as they happen.
- Always make sure that wet areas and spills are marked.
- Sweep or mop debris from floors immediately.
- Make sure to remove obstacles from walkways and keep them clutter free.
- Make sure to secure carpets, rugs, and mats that do not lay flat by taping or tacking them.
- Make sure that storage drawers and file cabinets are always closed.
- Make sure that any cables that cross walkways are properly covered.
If you do not practice good housekeeping, any other preventative measures you take to prevent these accidents, like specialty footwear, installing sophisticated flooring or training employees on safe walking and falling techniques, will never be completely effective.
Ensuring that employees’ always have a clutter-free, safe working environment will go a long way in preventing them from getting injured due to slips, trips, or falls.
Flooring: The next level in the prevention of slip and trip accidents is modifying or changing walking surfaces in the workplace.
Installing mats, replacing or recoating floors, using abrasive-filled paint-on coating or pressure-sensitive abrasive strips and synthetic or metal decking can further help in improving workplace safety and lower the risk of falling.
It is important to keep in mind that when you use high-tech flooring, you need to have good housekeeping practices as much as any other type of flooring.
Additionally, non-slippery, resilient flooring reduces or prevents foot fatigue and significantly contributes to prevention measures for slips, trips, and falls.
Walking Surfaces: A significant portion of injuries that are reported by state agencies occur on walking surfaces. The types of surfaces where injuries occur most frequently include:
- Sidewalks, or lack of
- Parking lots
- Shower stalls in residential dorms
- Food preparation areas
It is critical to make sure that you maintain and take safety precautions on walking surfaces to keep employees and pedestrians safe.
Keep the following tips in mind to prevent slip, trip or falls outside your place of business:
- Make sure that sidewalks and parking lots are always clean and in remarkable condition.
- Always remove snow and ice when they are present. In extreme cases, it may be a judicious idea to completely suspend use of the area.
- As mentioned in flooring, make sure to use anti-skid paint or adhesive striping material whenever necessary.
Lighting: Creating and maintaining proper lighting in the workplace is another important step to prevent slip, trip and fall accidents. You should take the following steps to ensure that employees and others are safe from injuries:
- Make sure that there is proper lighting in staircases, hallways, walkways, ramps, construction areas, basements and dock areas.
- Ensure that work areas are always clean and well lit.
- Make sure that everyone turns on the light first upon entering a dark room.
- Make sure that obstructions and clutter are cleared away from poorly lit rooms and areas.
- Make sure that all areas around light switches are accessible and clear.
- Make sure that malfunctioning switches, fixtures and cords are repaired immediately.
Footwear: Wearing proper shoes can play quite a major role in preventing slips, trips and falls. It is critical to evaluate the type of heels and slickness of the soles of the footwear you wear in order to prevent such accidents.
Needless to say, shoelaces should always be tied properly and securely. Whenever there is investigation of a fall-related injury, you should evaluate the footwear to find out if it could have contributed to the accident. Employers should always wear footwear that is appropriate for the duties they perform.
Regular Inspections and Training: It is critical to conduct a routine inspection of all areas in the workplace to ensure that employees have a safe environment.
Make sure that all working and high-traffic areas are cleaned properly and kept free of any clutter. Remind everyone of the importance of keeping all tools and equipment in the appropriate places. A hammer in the wrong place or unseen by someone walking by could cause serious injury.
Employees should also be trained regularly on how to keep their work environment safe at all times. This training should be done on a routine basis so that both new and old employees know exactly what to do to ensure everyone’s safety.
Employees should also be properly trained before they use any equipment, especially those that could cause serious injury if not used properly or cautiously.
What to Do After a Slip, Trip, and Fall Accident
Unfortunately, countless people are injured on the job regularly at some point in their lives – many of these injuries are caused by slip, trip, and fall accidents.
What is even more unfortunate is that in most cases, the accident is not the injured person’s fault.
As slips, trips, and falls can happen to anyone and anywhere, it is paramount to know what you should do following such an accident.
This is especially true if your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence. By law, homes, walkways, parking lots and buildings must be maintained to make sure that people can travel them safely – this responsibility is known as premises liability.
Premises liability means that if you suffered serious injury on another person’s property after a slip, trip, and fall accident caused by the negligence of the property owner, you could be entitled to compensation for damages including medical bills, loss of income due to time off work, pain and suffering, etc.
Steps to Take After a Slip, Trip, and Fall Accident
If you have been in a slip, trip, and fall accident, there are steps that you should immediately take so that you can build the best possible case against the negligent party. These steps include the following:
- Seek medical attention: After a slip, trip, and fall accident, your number one priority should be your health, or your loved one’s health, depending on who is injured. Following such an accident, the first thing you should do is visit a doctor to make sure that all the injuries you sustained are properly documented. The medical records you obtain from your physician will be crucial pieces of evidence in case you decide to make a personal injury claim and seek compensation for your injuries.
- Report the accident: Regardless of where the slip, trip, and fall accident took place – at a friend’s house, on a sidewalk or in a store – it is essential to ensure that you report it to a landlord, owner, or manager. Make sure that you get every detail of the accident in writing – ask the landlord, owner, or manager to make a written report and make sure that you get a copy before you leave. If the accident occurred while you were on the job, you should report the incident to your employer immediately.
- Document every detail: The next vital step is to collect the names, phone numbers, home addresses, and email addresses of all potential witnesses. If you decide to pursue a legal claim, their statements could go a long way in proving your case. Additionally, make sure that you take as many photographs as you can of the exact spot you fell and also of any icy patches, stairs or other conditions that caused your accident. Write down what you were doing right before the incident, how you fell and other details, such as the date and time of the accident. Last but not least, store the clothing and shoes you were wearing when the accident occurred – they may be key pieces of evidence later.
- Do not give statements: It may be difficult to do so at the time, but it is extremely important for you to remain calm and avoid communicating with the owner or manager of the property. Make sure not to post any details of your accident on social media. Also, do not give a statement to an insurance company until you have consulted a personal injury attorney. Finally, do not try to place blame on anyone, and do not take any either.
- Call a lawyer: When you are considering taking legal action against the negligent party responsible for your injuries, the best person to have by your side is a profound personal injury lawyer. Due to the fact that a lot of slip, trip and fall cases are complex and can be quite challenging to prove, you need the resources that a successful law firm has. Make sure that you hire an attorney who has the knowledge, experience and track record of success to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Why You Need a Lawyer to Handle Your Slip, Trip, and Fall Case
Many people think that they can handle their personal injury cases by themselves, but this is a huge mistake you should avoid.
Whether the accident occurred at work or on someone’s property, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you in many ways, including:
- They will handle all the paperwork: As mentioned earlier, slip, trip, and fall cases are complex and confusing, and the paperwork that comes with them are also extremely confusing. Your attorney has the knowledge to handle all documents and take care of all the details on your behalf. All you need to do is focus on recovering from your injuries.
- They will worry about deadlines: When you have been in a slip, trip and fall accident, you have a very limited time to file legal claims. Your legal professional will make sure that your claim is filed well before the deadline.
- They will keep you informed: A judicious legal counselor will make sure to keep you informed through every process of your claim. They will also explain everything in a way you can understand and ensure that your rights are always protected.
RMFW Law is the Cream of the Crop in NYC!
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip, trip, or fall accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you should immediately seek legal help from Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff of RMFW Law at (212) 697-9280 and file a personal injury claim. If the accident occurred in your workplace, your legal pro will help you with workers’ compensation. With the help of a lawyer, you can make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other damages.
Get the ball rolling with RMFW Law. No one does it like we do! We have won millions of dollars for past client and you too can be on this glorious list. If your case is viable, we will take you to The Promised Land.
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