Slip and fall accidents are not uncommon in workplaces. Because of regulations and liabilities in workplaces, these kinds of accidents are unique.
Slips and falls are incredibly common, especially in dangerous workplaces, or when negligence occurs. Negligence refers to the failure to take proper care in doing something. This means that if someone were to haphazardly clean a floor, or not put down a “wet floor” sign, and then someone else were to get injured, the person who didn’t properly clean the floor was being negligent.
These types of accidents account for one out of every four workplace injury that results in missing days of work. While these accidents may seem minor, they cause many injuries every single year. They also cause many people to miss days, weeks, and sometimes months of work.
How to Prevent Slip and Falls in the Workplace
According to OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration), 15% of all accidents deaths are caused by slip and fall accidents. So, what exactly is causing all of these accidents, and what can be done to stop them from happening?
First off, safety. Safe work environments turn out less injuries than unsafe ones, for good reason. Workplaces that care about the safety of their workers take a greater care of potential slipping or falling hazards, like wet floors, cluttered areas, or unsafe ledges. According to OSHA, many of these accidents are fully preventable. So a safe and clean workplace is an accident free one, as well.
Preventing slipping and tripping hazards can be as easy as having adequate lighting, handrails on stairs, slip resistant flooring in high-risk areas, brightly marked changes in elevation (like stairs), and using non-slip mats where necessary.
Another pillar of keeping workplaces safe is maintenance. It’s important to maintain certain areas and keep them free of clutter or spills that may occur. Not cleaning up a spill right after it occurs can still be considered negligent!
This maintenance also includes the removal of snow and ice in the winter seasons. Making sure that the outside of your building is safe is also incredibly important, as a slippery surface can cause a lot of problems for workers and customers.
Training can also be important when it comes to preventing slip and fall accidents. Workplaces should train employees to avoid particular behaviors, like running or wearing improper footwear, to avoid slip and fall accidents.
Most Common Causes of Workplace Slip and Falls
In 2016, 9.2 million people were treated in emergencies for fall-related injuries. These slips and falls are completely preventable, but why aren’t they being prevented? The most common causes of slip and falls come in threes, human factors, housekeeping issues, and stairs and ladders.
Wet and uneven surfaces account for 55% of slip and fall accidents, this includes things like cluttered floors, loose floorboards, defective sidewalks, parking lot potholes, poorly constructed staircases, torn carpeting, or recently mopped floors.
Weather conditions, improper training, improper footwear, and fraud are also common causes of these slip and falls. Improper training, especially in construction sites, leads to a lot of accidents. If people are not following safety precautions, or leave behind a mess for someone to trip over, accidents could happen. In dangerous workplaces, like construction sites, it’s especially important to make sure that everyone is trained correctly. Safety training can help prevent slips and falls in a big way.
Common Injuries from Slip and Falls
Common injuries after a slip and fall include things like broken bones, sprained ankles or wrists, knee damage, shoulder dislocations or muscle strains, spine or nerve damage, traumatic brain injury, or cuts and bruises.
Broken bones, sprained wrists and ankles, muscle strains, and cuts and bruises can all range from minor to major, depending on the area and amount of different breaks or strains. A minor fall could result in one broken bone, while a major fall could result in multiple broken bones. More major accidents will also result in things like traumatic brain injury or spine/nerve damage.
Who’s Liable for my Workplace Accident?
Determining liability for your workplace accident can be tricky sometimes, especially when workers’ compensation comes into play. Determining liability looks at who was negligent when it came to the accident. If your slip and fall occurred because someone didn’t clean up a spill, we would begin to investigate who didn’t, and why it happened. Likely, in these cases, the workplace would be liable for this accident. However, this is not the case if the worker directly disobeyed a rule or procedure that led to their accident.
Do I get Workers’ Compensation for a Slip and Fall Accident?
Yes, in many cases you will receive workers’ compensation for your accident if reported right away. However, workers’ compensation doesn’t always cover all costs, and it may be necessary to sue to receive full compensation. If you feel that your accident could have been prevented, then you may want to look into forming a case against your workplace.
How Can an Attorney Help With my Case?
An attorney with experience with these kinds of cases can walk you through the steps, and investigate your workplace for possible negligence. With these cases, you will also have to deal with the insurance company for your workplace, which many attorneys have a lot of experience doing. If you’ve been injured in a workplace slip and fall accident, please contact Eberst Law online or at 772-225-4900 for more information.