When the weather gets cold and icy, slip and fall accidents are more common than you might think. In this post, we’ll discuss how you can spot unsafe conditions that could lead to slips and falls, and what you can do to prevent them in the office.
Slip and Fall Accident Statistics
Falling may seem like a minor incident, but falls can be serious and costly. Take a look at these statistics from the CDC:
One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
Each year, 2.5 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.
Over 700,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.
Each year at least 250,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures.
More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually by falling sideways.
Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Adjusted for inflation, the direct medical costs for fall injuries are $34 billion annually.Hospital costs account for two-thirds of the total.
Even when you work in an office environment, fall hazards can be present and dangerous. Items left in walkways, electrical and computer cords, break room spills, wet bathroom floors, and using desks or chairs as makeshift ladders are all common causes of slip and fall accidents.
Do Your Part
To avoid slips and falls, be on the lookout for foreign substances on the floor. Watch for:
Deposits of water
Office supplies and equipment
Even small quantities are enough to make you fall.
Beware of tripping hazards.
Pay attention to rugs and mats near entryways or in bathrooms.
Try to keep cords untangled and restrained behind your desk and out of aisles and walkways.
Wear practical shoes with low or no heels, especially in snowy, wet, or icy conditions.
When taking medication, be sure to check with your doctor about possible effects on coordination or balance.
Wear your prescription lenses and visit your eye doctor regularly to make sure your vision is 20/20.
When entering a building from the outdoors or storage areas, clean your footwear thoroughly. Snowy and rainy weather requires a doormat at each entrance to allow for complete wiping of shoes. Avoid running, walk safely and do not change directions too sharply.
Walk in designated walking areas. Short cuts through machine, storage or supply areas can cause accidents. Concentrate on where you are going—horseplay and inattention leave you vulnerable to unsafe conditions. Hold on to handrails when using stairs or ramps. They are there to protect you should a fall occur. If you’re carrying a heavy load that hampers your ability to properly ascend or descend stairs, use the elevator or find help.
The worst falls are from elevated positions such as ladders or standing on desk chairs, and can result in serious injury or death. Learn and practice ladder safety. For example, use a ladder of proper length that is in good condition. Keep it placed on a firm surface. Do not climb a ladder placed on anything besides the floor. Keep the ladder’s base one foot away from the wall for every four feet of height. Never stand on a desk chair, especially if it has wheels. Don’t over-reach. Always have control of your balance when working from an elevated height. Never climb with your hands full.
Slips and falls occur every day. The extent of injuries and their recurrence can be minimized through proper safety knowledge, good housekeeping and practicing prevention.