Many people venture into stores and malls without considering that they could suffer an injury simply by slipping and falling, yet it does happen to some people, sometimes due to the negligence of the owner or manager of the property. Falling is a serious matter. Some people may suffer injuries that take weeks to recover from, and older people may suffer debilitating injuries from a fall.
EHS Today provides some background on falls. This information can apply to employees in a workplace and pedestrians in a public location alike, and can also explain how falls happen and what property owners can do to help prevent them.
Slips, Trips and Falls
Falls may occur in many different ways. Some of them result from a person slipping on a surface. When a person slips, it means the footing of the person was not secure and caused a lack of balance. A person may also trip, which occurs when an individual contacts another surface or object that results in a loss of balance. Both slips and trips may lead to someone falling.
Property owners have the duty of doing all they can to prevent possible fall hazards in public places. Some falls occur because the floor is not properly maintained. If spills occur, public places should have cleaning tools available and workers ready to handle it. Good housekeeping procedures may also keep tools or other objects off the floor and away from pedestrians.
In some instances, a fall hazard may suddenly present itself and the managers of the property cannot fix it right away. If so, they should place safety signs to warn pedestrians not to venture into the afflicted area. Sometimes property owners also need to use directional markers like arrows, safety tape or other way-finders to guide non-employees away from possibly hazardous locations.
Some people trip or slip due to poor lighting. They do not see a rip or hole in the ground or misjudge a distance while raising or lowering a foot. Lighting can present particular problems for older people since their eyesight is not as keen. Public places should make sure they have proper lighting in halls and also to mark exits. If an emergency should occur, lighting should be available to guide pedestrians and employees out of a building.