You do your best to stay safe at work, while in public, or as you visit friends and family. After all, your livelihood depends on your good health and physical condition. You know that if you become seriously injured, you will be unable to work and meet your financial obligations.
In the blog below, we discuss the common causes of slip and fall accidents so you can better protect yourself from injury. As you work, visit a public space, or attend a get-together at someone else’s house, keep an eye out for the following hazards.
Take a look at the space around you as you walk. Even the smallest amount of clutter could cause you to slip (or trip) and fall. Typically, you’ll see the following items cluttering walkways:
- Boxes and crates
- Equipment (like printers and fax machines)
- Loose retail products
Additionally, improperly stored materials and equipment can clutter walkways within a room. As you walk around, pay attention for any items that could cause you to slip and fall. If you notice one of these hazards, inform a supervisor or another appropriate individual to resolve the issue.
Improper Training or Equipment
When you first start a job, your supervisor should properly train you. He or she should teach you how to appropriately use any equipment. Your supervisor should also advise you about any precautions you should take as you walk in an area. For example, if you work on a construction site, your trainer should tell you how to walk in a certain zone-especially if loose debris occupies the site.
Lack of training and using improper equipment at work can increase your risk for a slip and fall accident. If you feel like you haven’t received proper training, ask your supervisor for additional training. Likewise, if the equipment you use is faulty or insufficient, request new or additional machinery or materials.
Poor Weather Conditions
Bad weather can also cause you to fall and sustain an injury. Rain, sleet, snow, and ice create a slick environment. If left on a surface, puddles of water, piles of snow, and layers of sleet and ice make it much easier for you to slip and fall.
Work spaces, sidewalks, parking lots, decks, and stairways should all be cleared of any debris. If the area cannot be cleared immediately, signs should be posted, warning any passersby of the hazard. Should you approach a slick surface that you absolutely must walk on, take extreme caution. Otherwise, walk around the surface to avoid the hazard.
Uneven surfaces pose a tripping hazard and can lead to more serious injury than other slip and fall accidents. No matter where you are, look out for the following types of uneven surfaces:
- Broken or cracked sidewalks
- Improperly placed rugs
- Loose or broken floorboards
- Raised tile
- Torn carpet
You’ll also want to watch out for any items stuck in the flooring. For example, a small item (such as a toy or an office supply) could fall to the ground and get lodged in a rug. If you accidentally step on the item, it could stick to your shoes and cause you to trip and injure yourself.
Wet or Waxy Surfaces
Spilled liquids, leaky roofs, and mopped floors can all increase your risk for a slip and fall accident. Additionally, freshly or overly waxed surfaces further add to the risk.
You can easily identify wet floors by a puddle or stream of liquid anywhere on the surface. However, mopped and waxed floors are a bit more difficult to identify. As you walk on a surface, look for a shiny residue that indicates the surface has recently been mopped or waxed. You’ll also want to look for signs warning you that the surface was waxed or mopped.
Unfortunately, some mopped floors don’t get dried sufficiently and can increase your risk for injury. Likewise, some cleaners may accidentally use too much wax on a surface, making it extra slippery. Tread carefully if you must walk across these surfaces, but avoid them if at all possible.
Worn or Damaged Stairs
Like uneven surfaces, worn or damaged stairs can cause you to slip (or trip) and fall. Cracks in the stairs can cause you to trip up the stairs, or they can cause you to trip and take a tumble. And missing or degraded handrails only add to the hazard.
For example, if you tripped and started to fall down a flight of stairs, you might reach out to catch yourself on the handrail. But if the handrail is missing, you won’t be able to stop yourself from falling. Or if the handrail is damaged or poorly installed, it may not support you and prevent the fall.
Use the information above to safeguard yourself against a slip and fall accident. Should you sustain an injury at work or due to someone else’s negligence, contact a personal injury attorney. These legal experts can help you file a claim, solidify your case, and advocate for you.
Your lawyer will also factor negligence into your case. For example, if an employer knew of a tripping hazard and didn’t do anything to remove it, his or her negligence led to your accident. Trust a personal injury lawyer to help you receive the compensation you need to heal and recover properly. For more information about how a lawyer can assist you, read through the rest of our blog.