- It has been estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that same-level slips, trips, and falls send about one million people to the emergency room each year.
- Many of these accidents happen to employees while in their workplace. These often-preventable injuries produce significant wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, and extra business costs totaling nearly $11 billion.
- Safety officials have conducted a national survey across multiple industries to review the slip and fall awareness and prevention methods businesses take to ensure facilities are safe for both employees and customers.
- The results of this survey point to a general lack of preparedness by business and property owners to identify and address employee and customer risks related to slips, trips, and falls.
Businesses Underestimate Slip and Fall Risks
Trusted industry authorities who work to reduce unsafe environments have released research showcasing how slip and fall risks are being underestimated by many property owners and organizations. The 2017 Walk Zone Safety Report was prepared with help from maintenance, safety, health risk, and facilities management professionals across multiple U.S. industries and evaluated private employers such as manufacturers and public-facing facilities, like restaurants, supermarkets, retail and other commercial spaces. The report findings concluded that prevention methods related to slip and fall risks are not being adequately addressed through these trending examples:
- The number of risk zones is severely underestimated. 46 percent of respondents believe there are only zero to three same-level fall risk areas in their facility. Yet the survey revealed more than 10 different locations identified as common fall zones.
- Popular safety solutions cause falls instead of preventing them. Nearly 15 percent of organizations reported that wrinkled, bunched-up, or shifting rubber-backed floor mats are the primary reason for falls in their building.
- Same-level fall prevention is not a top priority. Only 39 percent of organizations consider same-level fall prevention a top priority, and most (58 percent) rely on traditional, rented rubber-backed floor mats to address the issue, leaving several areas uncovered and often creating new hazards when the mats shift, ripple or curl.
Common High-Risk Walk Zones Go Unnoticed
Entryways remain to be obvious risk zones for slip and fall injuries, but so many other areas remain problematic. A large number of accidents occur on sidewalks and throughout common work areas and customer walkways. In fact, the Walk Zone Safety Report findings showed more than half of respondents reported falls in regular customer paths and shopping aisles, around equipment or machines, and near frequent spill areas. Other areas with poorly maintained thresholds between rooms and buildings can pose a significant trip and fall zone. Bathrooms, kitchens, and drinking fountain zones with leaky valves awaiting repair often serve as high-risk walk zones as well. Here is a quick review of locations prone to common slip, trip, and fall accidents:
- Poorly maintained walkways and parking lots can be damaged with potholes or covered by excess water and debris.
- Floors, especially those unmarked as wet, can be found at restaurants, grocery stores, shopping centers and in public bathrooms after a spill has been made. In addition, if a slip prevention mat or carpet is wet or set in the wrong area, a person can quickly be seriously injured.
- According to the National Floor Safety Institute, employees slipping and falling account for nearly 85 percent of worker’s compensation claims and cost workers and employers an average of 31 lost days of work each year. Workers are entitled to a safe environment.
While this report is helpful, it shares a similar conclusion the slip and fall injury lawyers at Wagner Reese stand by. Many slip, trip, and fall accidents are preventable, and property owners and businesses need to take precautions against these accidents. When precautions aren’t made, serious injuries and sometimes even fatalities will occur.
Protect Yourself from a Slip and Fall Accident
Although it won’t be easy, if you find yourself beginning to slip, try best to not put all the pressure on your hands or wrists to break your fall and do your best to protect your head and neck area. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified these common injuries triggered by even the simplest of falls:
- Back and spinal cord injuries. The impact to the body in a slip-and-fall accident can fracture vertebrae or cause slipped or herniated discs, which cause significant pain and limit mobility and can lead to paralysis and other neurologic and sensory impairments.
- Head Injuries. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and cause 40 percent of all TBIs in the United States that require emergency room treatment or hospitalization, or lead to death.
- Hip fractures. More than 95 percent of broken hips are suffered in falls. A hip fracture typically requires surgery and hospitalization as well as extensive rehabilitation. One in five hip fracture patients die within a year of their injury.
- Shoulder injuries. A slip-and-fall accident may result in a shoulder dislocation or an injury known as a “brachial plexus injury.” These painful injuries are treated with surgery followed by physical therapy to rehabilitate the injured limb and joint.
- Sprains and fractures. The impact of twisting a knee or ankle or landing on the ground while falling can break bones. The most common fractures suffered in falls are of the hip, spine, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm and hand or wrist.
As mentioned earlier, slip and fall accidents are a leading cause of brain injury. The warning signs for a brain injury can vary from person to person and are dependent upon the severity. Here are distinct symptoms to look for:
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty thinking or speaking
- Lack of coordination
- Loss of consciousness for any amount of time
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
- Slurred speech
Seek medical support if you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms after a fall.
Businesses and landowners have a responsibility to make their property safe for staff, guests, customers and anyone who may pass through their premises. The lawyers at Wagner Reese have over 60 years of combined experience in assisting victims of slip and fall accidents and premises liability law. We handle cases involving landlords, businesses, and property owners that have caused an injury due to negligence, may be in violation of housing codes, local ordinances, or national safety standards that have resulted in injuries.
Slip and Fall Injury Lawyers & Premises Liability Attorneys
If you suddenly became the victim of a slip and fall injury, give the expert lawyers at Wagner Reese a call for more information and schedule your free consultation today. Wagner Reese has a proven track record of securing compensation for clients to recover from extensive medical care and physical rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and ongoing disabilities. We take pride in getting clients the results they need and the help they deserve to move on from their injuries.
Contact us now at 1-888-710-9377 to schedule an appointment or complete our confidential contact form and we will be in touch.