Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls can be dangerous accidents, and can take place in your home, outdoors, on the job, and in public places like supermarkets and restaurants. Falls can be particularly common in the winter months, when ice and frost can build up or, in Sunbelt states, rain and mud can make for a slippery and uncertain footing. Luckily, there are several things you can do to avoid and prevent slips, trips, and falls:
Keep Your Property Clear of Hazards
Start by ensuring your own home is free from slipping and tripping hazards, both for your own sake and for those visiting your property. Taking these steps is especially important for those with reduced eyesight or who struggle with mobility or balance. Ensure that there is adequate lighting, both indoors and outdoors, check for and repair damage to walkways, steps, and yard paths, and remove debris from the ground (like leaves or stones outside, and electrical cords, toys, and shoes inside). Consider picking up shoes with good support and soles that are slip- or skid-resistant, and install handrails where necessary.
Be Extra-Cautious in High-Risk Situations
Using ladders, boarding or disembarking from boats, traveling across uneven or damp surfaces, using locker rooms and kitchens, visiting restaurants and stores, and walking on ramps and sidewalks are all common everyday activities for Florida residents. But each of these activities has a higher than average propensity to result in slips or falls. Be aware of when your activities place you at a higher risk for slipping or falling and use extra care. Double-check that ladders are secure and on even footing, that walking surfaces are stable, dry, and not oily or slippery, and that inclined or publicly used pathways (which may be more prone to damage than other areas) are indeed clear of hazards.
Follow Workplace Guidelines to Prevent Falls
The owners of workplaces have special responsibility to employers, employees, and customers to prevent slips, trips, and falls. Familiarize yourself with Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines as well as rules set by your employer to avoid falls. If you work in a store, restaurant, or similar establishment, be aware of your workplace protocol for identifying and fixing tripping and slipping hazards, including signage, customer notification, and cleanup procedure. Verify that you are in compliance with your company dress code, which may be in part designed to help avoid trips and falls (for instance, be sure you are wearing required non-slip footwear). Watch for slipping or tripping hazards and alert your supervisor immediately if you notice one or if someone, employee or customer, falls.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Even after taking every step to avoid slips, trips, and falls at any and all locations, it is simply not possible to prepare for every conceivable eventuality. Prepare for the unexpected by knowing where and how to address a claim to secure your recovery in the event that you or someone you know does indeed slip, trip, or fall. At Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian, Lawyers and Counselors at Law in Tampa, our lawyers on staff have specific experience in navigating slip and fall claims. Call toll-free at 1 (800) 227-2275 for a consultation today.