Preventing Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common types of accidents that lead to injuries. Falls are responsible for sending more than eight million people to the emergency room every year. They’re an accident that truly can happen to anyone, anywhere. They can easily happen at home, at work, at a friend’s home, or while you’re out running errands.
Slip and fall accidents most frequently occur on slippery surfaces: snowy or icy sidewalks, wet floors, floors covered in sawdust or other powder-like substances, or on extremely polished types of flooring such as marble.
With Winter on the way, along with it comes snow and ice. One of the best things you can do to prevent slip and fall accidents is do the best you can to keep your sidewalks and driveway clear of snow and ice. Regulations regarding how long you have to get your sidewalks cleared after a snowfall can vary from city to city, so contact your local City Hall if you have any questions about the rules in your city.
Make sure drainpipes are aimed away from sidewalks to keep water from being directed right onto them. This will also help prevent ice from forming on your sidewalks when the weather warms up enough to melt snow and ice during the day, but then drops back below freezing at night.
Even if you’re walking on a sidewalk or parking lot that appears to have been cleared, it’s still extremely important to use caution as you walk. Walk slowly, wear boots or shoes that have good gripping ability and watch for patches of ice that may not have been melted by salt yet. Try to avoid walking with heavy bags and backpacks, which may make it more difficult for you to maintain your balance.
Entryways can become very slippery when many people are coming in from the rain or the snow throughout the day. Business owners or apartment building owners who have many people coming in and out during the day should consider placing mats or runners at entryways to prevent snow and rain from being tracked inside. Just make sure the mats or runners don’t have frayed edges or corners that curl up, which people could trip over, and the mats or runners grip the floor well. If your runner or mat doesn’t want to stay in one place, secure it to the floor using carpet tape. If getting to your entrance involves walking up or down stairs, make sure the stairs have a handrail, are adequately lit, and are kept free of snow and ice.
Indoors, floors should be kept as clean and dry as possible. Even though substances like dirt or sawdust aren’t liquids, they can make floors very slippery and should be cleaned up as soon as possible. Businesses should have a procedure for quickly cleaning up spills and use yellow “wet floor” cones or caution tape to clearly mark areas that are either wet or being cleaned. Non-slip floor mats should be used in areas where water spillage is likely to occur.