Falls are the number one cause of unintentional injuries. In the United States, they are responsible for over 8.7 million visits to the emergency room annually. As part of National Safety Month, the National Safety Council is highlighting the dangers of slips, trips and falls the week of June 17th through the 23rd.
Some people blame slips, trips and falls on clumsiness or inattention. Often, however, such accidents can be attributed to physical hazards. These include stairs or walkways that are wet, icy, poorly lit, cluttered, in disrepair or without proper handrails.
Outdoor areas should be inspected for slip and fall hazards frequently. This includes removing ice, snow, leaves or other debris that may pose a hazard to pedestrians. Indoor walkways should be clear of electrical and phone cords; it is also a good idea to place non-skid throw rugs on slippery areas of flooring.
Older adults are especially at risk for fall injuries. According to the CDC, one out of three adults over the age of 65 falls every year. Seniors may have more challenges with strength and balance making them more susceptible to falls and accompanying injuries.
Both commercial and private property owners have a duty to exercise reasonable caution in keeping their premises free of hazards and in a safe condition. If a property owner’s negligence results in a person slipping, tripping or falling, the injured person may be entitled to compensation for related injuries. An attorney can provide further information about potential slip and fall claims.
Source: National Safety Council, Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls, June 2012.