Slips and falls account for as much as 15% of all accidental deaths every year; only motor vehicle accidents cause a larger percentage. Even when they aren’t fatal, they have a big economic impact—causing 25% of all reported injury claims per fiscal year and being responsible for 95 million days of lost work per year.
It’s easy to see why it’s so important to safeguard against slip and fall accidents. But while we often address some of the most common causes of slips and falls, like having guard rails, floors with appropriate traction, and appropriate signage to warn people of wet or slippery conditions, some of the less common causes of such accidents aren’t always addressed. Take a look at this list of problem conditions and ask yourself if any of these apply to your home or workplace:
- Uneven walking surfaces
- Freshly polished flooring
- Loose carpeting, rugs, or mats
- Loose tiles or floorboards
- Transitions from one type of flooring to another
- Missing or uneven tiles, bricks, or pavers
- Dry floors covered in loose powders, such as flour or sawdust
- Dirty shoes (mud, oil, grease)
- Loose cords or electrical cables
- A cluttered environment
- Open file cabinet or desk drawers that block walkways
- Damaged or loose stair steps, ladders, or ramp surfaces
- Wet vegetation, leaf litter, or pine needles
Some of these problems overlap a little bit and some are specific to certain indoor or outdoor environments. However, if one of them applies to an area that you live in, work in, or manage, it’s important to get it taken care of. Keeping things clean and in good repair goes a long way to ensuring safety.
For example, if your employees’ shoes or boots are often muddy in your workplace, look into how you can fix the conditions around your building so that they don’t have to walk through the mud and install shoe scrapers near all the entrances.