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Five common slip-and-fall accidents

Walking hazards and pedestrian safety risks are not always obvious. A trip, slip or fall can produce a long-lasting injury--or even one that leaves you with a permanent disability. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, 8 million people per year in the U.S. visit an emergency room as the result of a fall.

As a home or business owner, you should take all necessary steps to eliminate conditions that may lead to a fall on your property. It’s disheartening to see friends, family or customers suffer from a slip-and-fall when it could have been avoided. Injuries from slips-and-falls are too common, and the slip and fall facts and figures are eye opening.

Outdoor and indoor hazards to avoid

The following five common factors often lead to slips-and-falls. These are not only significant safety issues, but a liability problem as well.

  • Inclement weather: Snow, ice and rain can make a variety of surfaces slippery. It may not be apparent how slick these surfaces have become before it’s too late. Asphalt, concrete and wood surfaces all absorb moisture differently and offer varying levels of traction. When you’re walking in an unfamiliar area, carefully assess the traction on the surface.
  • Uneven surfaces: Some surfaces exposed to rain, snow and moisture become hazardous and surfaces in poor conditions present additional risks. A person can easily slip-and-fall on uneven pavement, deep potholes, cracked sidewalks and structures with loose floorboards.
  • Wrong shoes at the wrong time: Footwear needs to be suited to the weather conditions. It’s not a solid plan to wear leather-soled shoes when it has been raining, snowing or sleeting. Worn out shoes with no tread can be equally as hazardous. You need to wear the right footwear for the conditions because traction is crucial. If you’re struggling to keep your feet under you, you should switch shoes and make sure you have adequate comfort, support and grip.
  • Poor lighting: Indoor and outdoor environments can present dangers. If you can’t see what’s there, you can’t avoid obstacles and problems. Broken or degraded pavement in a dark alley, sidewalk, parking ramp or another place can easily cause a fall. Indoor environments also present challenges. You’re in a hallway with burned out lights and you’re unable to see what’s there, so it’s risky.
  • Water or spilled liquids: Water or liquids resting on top of tile, linoleum and other floor coverings can make for slippery situation. For example, you don’t see a puddle of water on the tile when getting out the shower at the fitness center. A customer at the grocery store drops and breaks a jar of marinara sauce. An employee mops up the mess left behind, but the floor is wet and slippery. He places the wet floor sign at the opposite end of aisle, and you don’t see it.

You should take all necessary measures to protect yourself and the safety of others. You need to be conscientious and aware of your surroundings whether indoors or outdoors. When hazardous conditions occur, pay attention, wear the right shoes and use good judgement.

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