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Slip and fall accidents are one of the the most common forms of preventable injury. In fact, they are the leading cause of emergency room visits. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), slip and fall accidents account for more than 9 million hospital emergency room visits each year. The most common causes of slip and fall accidents are almost all preventable.
According to the NFSI, 55% of falls are caused by hazardous walkways. A hazardous walkway is created when the floor is too slippery for a person to maintain his or her balance. Water or oil could be leaking on the surface or the flooring could simply be too slippery to allow for good foot traction.
Hazardous walkways are also created when there are things on the floor people could trip on. Loose tiles, crumpled carpet, power cords, and uneven surfaces all make a walkway hazardous.
In order to avoid an accident, check the walkways around you for potential dangers. If the floor is too slippery, cover the area with a rug or replace the flooring. If the floor is damaged, repair the floor. If there is a concealed step, place a sign where the ground is uneven. Tuck cords out of the way or keep them off the floor.
Slip and fall accidents are a danger for all workers from retail employees to construction workers. Slippery surfaces in retail environments caused by poor maintenance and lax housekeeping cause falls every day. Other more dangerous workplaces, like construction sites, pose more dangers to employees. Training, proper equipment, and proper signage can prevent some of these workplace injuries.
Snow and ice can create slippery walking surfaces both inside and outside. Proper housekeeping, and snow maintenance can help protect against these kings of injuries.
Rain can also create slippery surfaces. Water damage can also make a walkway unsafe even on a sunny day. Although it is impossible to control the weather, business owners and other leaders should be aware of potential dangers and work to prevent them with regular house keeping and maintenance.
As the baby-boomer generation gets older, there will be a growing number of adults who once walked and ran with ease, who are now suffering from poor eyesight, lower hand-eye coordination, and fragile bodies. A large percentage of those hospitalized after a slip and fall accident are over the age of 65. Members of that age group are also much more likely to die from fall-related complications.
It is important for those people working with elderly patrons or caring for elderly patients to exercise proper care. Walkways should be clear of hazards, and not slippery. All stair railings should be installed in compliance with the applicable building code. Finally, those responsible to care for the elderly should keep close watch on their patients as move from place to place.
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