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Property Safety: Slips & Falls

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 report, slips and falls are the second leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States (transportation accidents being the leading accidental cause of death) with more than 50% being caused by slippery walking surfaces. In addition, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that accidental falls account for the most hospital visits each year.

Organizations should work to be proactive in avoiding accidental slips and falls by maintaining safe premises. Basic property risk management should include the following:

Walk-way lighting
  • Proper lighting should be installed for all interior and exterior walkways, hallways, parking lots and basements. 
  • Light switches should be installed at both the top and bottom of stairways.
  • Have a procedure in place to periodically inspect light fixtures to insure they are working properly.

Entrances and Exits
  • Inspect areas of high foot traffic for varying degrees of smoothness and defects that could cause slips or falls.
  • Be sure that doorsills are level with the floor to eliminate tripping hazards.
  • All doors should open and shut smoothly.
  • Floor mats or grate systems should be employed to keep moisture/water and mud from the floor. Be sure to use proper floor mats that do not slip or curl on the edges (i.e. carpet remnants are not recommended)
  • Consider placing umbrella stands by outside entryways to allow for storage of wet umbrellas.

Curbs
  • It is recommended that curbs be six inches high from the street.
  • Curbs near entrances and leading to sidewalks should be painted yellow or another contrasting color.

Sidewalks and Parking Lots
  • Have a procedure in place to periodically inspect parking lots for cracks, holes and shifting degrees of height.
  • Remove debris such as loose gravel and sand that could cause slips.
  • Cordon off any hazardous areas such as potholes and have qualified person fix the area as soon as possible.