Winter Slip and Fall Prevention: Outdoors and Indoors
A study by the Center of Disease Prevention (CDC) revealed that fall accidents account for “over 8 million hospital emergency room visits each year and over 1 million slip and fall ER visits each year.” The same study revealed that “slip, trip and falls are the number one cause of accidents in the home, hotels, restaurants and public buildings; 70% occur on flat and level surfaces, and 16% took place on stairs or escalators.” With that said, the winter months bring about a new level of danger with ice and slippery snow covering surfaces.
Although many businesses and/or homeowners can be vigilant to keep trafficked areas safe, there are always those areas that are either ignored or remain slick even though cautionary measures have been taken. So, what can you do to ensure a safe and fall-free winter season? Here are some pointers to avoid both outdoor and indoor slip and falls:
- For starters, be sure to select footwear appropriate for the weather conditions. For example, a rubber sole may provide better traction than, say, a leather or plastic sole.
- When there is a storm or the possibility of ice and you have to drive, do your best to utilize the least slippery route. Also, avoid rushing and plan on more time to arrive at your destination.
- When you do arrive at your destination, be sure to use caution upon exiting the vehicle. Many slip and falls occur from quickly exiting a vehicle. If need be, hold onto the vehicle for added support.
- If you do incur a slippery surface, “bend slightly forward and shorten your stride or shuffle your feet for better stability.”
- Be aware of safety cones or any other objects used to denote an unsafe area.
- Make sure to wipe your feet on floor mats to soak up any moisture on the soles of your shoes. Also, pay attention to ‘Wet Floor’ and other hazard signs.
- Avoid walking on wet or slipper areas if possible.
- Frequently traveled floor mats can sometimes get supersaturated and/or rolled on the edges. Rolling can cause trips, and soaking wet mats can often stop absorbing moisture. Beware of this when you are utilizing high traffic areas.
Regardless of how many precautions you take, accidents do happen. If you or someone you know incurs an accident as a result of slippery surface, be sure to do the following:
- Seek immediate medical help
- Report it and any other fall hazards
- Keep record of everything that happened and the conditions that led to the slip or fall
If you have been hurt in a slip and fall accident that could have potentially been prevented, contact the attorneys at Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP® for more information about your rights.