What Are The Fundamental Reasons For Slip And Fall Accidents?
A slip and fall accident can happen at any time and anywhere. These types of accidents happen at homes, schools, workplaces, shopping centers, and more. They are more common with small children and the elderly, but they can cause serious harm and injury to anyone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the medical costs of slip and fall accidents were over $50 billion in 2015. Furthermore, over 3 million elderly people were treated for injuries sustained in a slip or fall of some sort. It must be noted, however, that only half or so of all injuries are reported, and this figure is for the elderly only, meaning the overall number of slip and fall cases countrywide is substantially much higher.
Here are some of the reasons slip and fall accidents can occur.
Some occupations are more hazardous than others. Occupations in which slip and fall accidents are common includes:
- Construction work
- Housekeeping and maintenance work
- Chefs and kitchen work
- Factory workers and manual laborers
You can find more useful information on specific types of workplace hazards in this list compiled by the CDC and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Slips and falls are also very common – and understandably so – when surface conditions are not safe, which can happen when any of the following are present:
- Uneven surfaces
- Floors that were freshly mopped or waxed
- Floorboards, rugs, and mats – especially on stairs – that are not properly glued or nailed down
- Liquid spills
- Ice on sidewalks or other public walkways
Environmental conditions can also lead to slips and falls, and they generally happen when:
- There is trash or other obstructions on the floor
- Reflections from shiny floors cause glare
- Poor lighting makes it difficult to see dangers or obstacles on the floor
- Cords or open desks and drawers are bumped into or tripped over
- There are changes in floor surfaces along walkways, such as a transition from carpet to tile
Ladders and Stairs
Slips and falls from ladders and stairs are especially common, and they happen as a result of the following:
- Lack of a handrail
- Not using a handrail when a handrail is present
- Ascending or descending steps more than one step at a time
- Climbing on a ladder that has not been secured
- Climbing on a chair or another piece of furniture instead of a proper ladder or footstool
As is clear from the above, slips and falls can happen in a variety of ways and in a variety of settings. However, a few basic remedial steps can help reduce the risks of sustaining a slip and fall accident.
- Clean up spills and remove liquids from surfaces as soon as they fall to the floor
- Maintain clean aisles and walkways, and properly install carpeting and flooring
- Create and then maintain proper lighting, especially in dark places and high-risk areas such as workshop floors and stairwells
- Wear proper shoes, watch where you are going, and be aware of your surroundings
Liability for Slips and Falls
Depending on how and where a slip and fall accident occurs, anyone from an employee, a co-worker, property or business owner, or a maintenance team can be held liable for your injuries. If you’ve suffered a slip and fall accident, speak with a legal expert to learn more about your rights and responsibilities and to know more about liability laws and remedial action that you can take under the unique circumstances of your case.