Each year in the United States alone, approximately one million people are sent to the emergency room due to injuries caused by slip-and-fall accidents. Depending on the individual and cause of the fall, injuries range from minor to major, from bumps and bruises to broken bones, and even fatalities.
Slip-and-fall accident causes are many, but the most common are caused by uneven surfaces, weather conditions, insufficient workplace training, and nursing home neglect.
The single most-common cause for slip-and-fall accidents worldwide is uneven surfaces. In the United States, this is the cause for over 50 percent of reported falls. When uneven surfaces are present, a simple walk can become a hazard.
Below is a list of the most common relevant surface issues:
- Cluttered floors
- Loose floorboards
- Uneven sidewalks
- Parking lot potholes
- Carpet rips
- Uneven staircases
- Waxed floors
- Loose floor mats
These types of accidents are so common, not only due to the causes, but also due to where they can occur. These dangerous conditions can all be found in domestic, commercial, public and industrial locations.
The weather is a great cause of slip-and-fall accidents. Most common are slips on icy surfaces. Municipalities, businesses, and private residences are responsible for minimizing the risks of icy surfaces by salting steps and walkways.
Snow can also be the cause of slip-and-falls, so snow must be shovelled, in most places, within twenty-four hours of a heavy snowfall to ensure the safety of walkers. Wet steps after rain can also be hazardous on certain surfaces. Looking into which surfaces have more traction is a good idea when redoing outdoor steps or driveways.
Insufficient Workplace Training
As many people spend the majority of their time in their workplace, it is not surprising that many suffer from slip-and-fall accidents while on the job. High-risk workplaces, such as construction sites, are particularly dangerous, which is why specific training programs are set in place.
In fact, there are organizations whose job is to create and establish on-the-job training in how and where to avoid common workplace accidents. Proper training in the use of equipment and tools is also integral in preventing unnecessary falls and injuries.
In cases where safety requirements are not met on workplaces, contractors and employers can be held responsible for injuries incurred.
Nursing Home Slip-and-Falls
Sadly, another of the most common causes of slip-and-fall accidents is the neglect felt by patients of nursing homes. Elderly people have reduced balance and mobility, as well as frail bones, so they are particularly prone to experience serious injuries and even fatalities as a result of a serious fall.
The high statistics of hip fractures and fall-related fatalities in nursing homes cause great concern and inquiries into how much neglect is a factor in these slip-and-fall accident causes.
What is most surprising about these common slip-and-fall accident causes is not just how serious they can be, but also how avoidable they are. From surface maintenance to workplace training and proper nursing home care, many of the injuries associated with falls can be prevented.