Slip, Trip & Fall Prevention Tips for Your Home
A slip and fall accident can truly happen to anyone. One bad step can result in injuries that can range from bruises and scrapes to more serious issues like broken bones, head injuries, shoulder injuries, and muscle sprains. According to the National Safety Council, fall-related injuries accounted for 31% of all non-fatal injuries in 2016 that were preventable. Injuries caused by falls can even potentially be fatal, particularly in older adults.
Just as anyone can become the victim of a slip and fall accident, they can also happen in a wide variety of locations, including stores, sidewalks, and at work. But it’s important not to overlook the risks for falls that occur within your own home. Every year, about 18,000 people are killed as a result of accidents that occur in the home and falls are the leading cause of home injury deaths.
Since home injuries are so common, taking fall prevention measures can go a long way in keeping you and the visitors to your home safe. Here are a few things you can do to help reduce the risks of falls at your house.
Clear the Clutter
One of the absolute best things you can do to prevent slips, trips, and falls in your home is to keep your floors free of clutter, particularly in areas on or near stairs. It’s easy for floors and hallways to become cluttered with everyday items like shoes, electrical cords, and boxes. Even if you think you’re watching your step, all it takes is one little moment of distraction to miss a trip hazard. Edges of area rugs are another very common household trip hazard, so make sure those are secured to the ground.
Check Your Lighting
The less lighting an area has, the easier it is for falls to happen, particularly on staircases and in outdoor areas. Make sure any staircases in your home are well-lit and that you stay on top of replacing burned out lightbulbs. Don’t forget about the areas outside your home where it might be easy for people to fall, such as your driveway, deck, and walkways. Not only can it be easy to fall in those sorts of locations after dark, factors like snow, ice, and rain can add to the risk.
Maintain Your Stairs
It’s estimated that about half of all deaths caused by falls happen on steps and stairs, so be sure to pay extra close attention to the condition of your steps. Making sure they’re well-lit and free of clutter is a great way to start, but don’t forget to check the general condition of the steps themselves. If you have stairs that are carpeted, check to make sure the carpet is securely attached so that stray edges don’t form a trip hazard. If the stairs are made of wood, routinely check them for signs of wear or damage that could eventually become a safety hazard. Don’t forget about your railings! Make sure they’re securely attached to the wall and are placed at a comfortable height so that they’re easy to use.
Take Care of Slippery Surfaces
Some types of surfaces are easier to slip and fall on than others. If you have flooring in your home that can be very slippery, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms, add non-slip mats or rugs to help reduce the risk of falls. If you’re painting or staining steps, either indoors or out, consider choosing a paint or stain with a grit additive to create some extra traction. Adhesive grip strips are another option worth considering for stairs.
Outside the House
As you try to look for ways to reduce the risk of falls around the house, don’t forget about your home’s exterior. We already talked a little bit about lighting and adding traction to outdoor stairs, but don’t forget about things like your sidewalk, walkways, and and driveway. During the fall, try to keep these areas clear of leaves, which can become very slippery when wet. Once winter comes around, stay on top of snow and ice removal. Broken and damaged sidewalks can also potentially pose a trip hazard.
Fall prevention measures can go a long way in keeping people safe, but sometimes accidents will still happen. If you’re injured after falling at someone else’s home, contact a slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible. Lots of people fall every day, but not everybody is able to just get right back up again afterward. By calling a lawyer, you’ll be able to get answers to any questions you have about your case and find out about what legal options are available to you.
At Goodwin & Scieszka, we know that serious slip and fall accidents often happen outside of your home. We are Metro Detroit personal injury lawyers who have helped our clients win slip and fall cases for many years. Contact us today if you have been injured.