Slips, trips, and falls are the most common cause of injuries both inside and outside the workplace. Every year, thousands of people take a fall and end up with non-fatal injuries.
Most trips and falls can easily be prevented with proper health and safety protocols. But accidents do happen. Sometimes, no matter how many health and safety measures are taken, people can lose balance and end up on the floor.
Trips and falls are more common in work areas that involve the use of potentially dangerous equipment. They’re also common in moisture-prone areas like bathrooms, kitchens, and warehouses that deal with chemicals and liquid goods.
If you sustain a personal injury in the workplace due to somebody else’s negligence, you might need to take legal action. For example, if your employer fails to maintain the office building properly and it causes you to injure yourself, you might be entitled to compensation.
Employers and business owners must, by law, take action to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. Safety in the workplace is extremely important and it’s why every employee must undergo relevant health and safety training when they start a new job.
But, of course, trips and falls can also happen by accident. Sometimes, they are nobody’s fault and no single person can be blamed.
Being aware of the most common causes of trips and falls will help you to stay safe. You will be able to recognize safety hazards, so you know when to take extra precautions to stay on your feet and avoid injuries.
Avoiding trips and falls is particularly important for older adults who are usually less stable on their feet and more prone to injuries. As you age, your mobility can become limited and this makes it much harder for you to get back on your feet if you fall over.
Medical alert systems can be beneficial if you’re somebody with limited mobility and you live on your own. If you fall over and are unable to get back up, you can alert the emergency medical team in your area immediately by activating your medical alert system.
Here are the most common causes of trips and falls inside and outside the workplace.
Spillages, leaks, or freshly cleaned floors can be a safety hazard, especially if they’re not signposted correctly. When it’s raining, entrances and exits can become slippery.
Dust can be surprisingly slippery. If floors haven’t been cleaned or swept in a while, dust can build up and prevent shoes from gripping the floor properly, leading to slips.
Loose Floorboards or Carpets
When the flooring is poorly maintained, people can easily trip over loose floorboards, tiles, or carpets. Rolled-up rugs can also cause people to trip over at home.
Loose flooring in the workplace is an issue that you should raise with your employer. Under the health and safety laws, they must fix any loose floorboards or carpets if they are deemed to be a safety hazard.
At home, it’s in your best interest to call a carpenter and get your flooring fixed before you end up tripping over and getting a nasty injury.
Cables or Wires
When cables and wires are left exposed and trailing across the floor, they can easily become a safety hazard. Cables and wires can often be hard to spot, especially in the dark, causing you to trip and fall over.
At home, secure your cables to the walls using sticky tape or get covers that will hide your cables and wires. If you’re at work, inform your employer if you spot any loose cables or wires so that they can take action.
Speaking of being in the dark, poor lighting is a common cause of trips and falls. It is almost impossible to spot a slippery floor or an uneven surface when the lighting is dim.
When it comes to avoiding trips and falls caused by poor lighting, the answer is simple. Turn the lights on! Whether it’s your living room, bedroom, or home office lighting, make sure to switch on the overhead lights.
If your manager asks you to grab some files from the basement at work, don’t risk falling over because you can’t be bothered to switch on the lights!
While there’s nothing that you can do about low ceilings unless you want to completely adjust the layout of your home. But you can do your best to warn any visitors to watch their heads when walking through your property.
If there are low ceilings in your workplace, it’s your employer’s responsibility to place health and safety signage in the area. Should you trip and fall over because you bang your head on a low ceiling that was not correctly signposted, you might need to take legal action against your employer.
Poor Housekeeping and Obstructions
Obstacles and obstructions become an increasing problem when you don’t keep on top of housekeeping. Leaving bags of waste or clutter around your home or office space can increase the risk of trips and falls.
There are lots of things in an office or home that can be obstructive, including plug sockets, pieces of equipment, or clutter. These obstructions can easily become safety hazards, causing people to trip and injure themselves.
Try your best to keep your personal and professional space as clean and tidy as possible to prevent injuries. In the workplace, keep your desk clutter-free and inform your manager if you’re concerned about obstructions in the office.
Changes in Levels
Steps, stairs, and curbs are one of the most common causes of trips and fall in any area. Whether they’re inside or outside, people can easily catch their foot on a step and take a fall.
Younger adults might come away with nothing more than a bit of embarrassment but for older adults, tripping on the stairs can cause fatal injuries. Every year, thousands of elderly individuals sustain sprains and fractures after falling down the stairs, and they require surgery to fix or replace the joints.