Slips and falls are the most common causes of workplace injury, occurring in the hundreds of thousands every year in the United States. Slips, trips and falls are the most frequently reported type of work accident, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, account for nearly one-quarter of all serious injuries in the workplace. Perhaps unsurprisingly, slips and falls are responsible for more workers’ compensation claims than other types of workplace injury.
Causes of Slips, Trips and Falls
People often fall as a result of losing traction on floors that are slippery from water, spills or from being freshly waxed. Unstable or uneven walking surfaces, such as a floor with irregular tiles or carpeting, also cause workers to trip and fall. Falls due to a missing or damaged transition from one floor to another — from tile flooring to carpeting for example — also are common causes of injuries in the workplace. In some cases, electrical cords and cables running across the floor, or clutter in the work environment are responsible for serious accidents.
Preventing Slips and Falls in the Workplace
Federal regulations and industry standards are intended to ensure that workplaces are safe, and this includes floor and walkway maintenance procedures. Establishing a regular floor care routine is important, as a higher incidence of workplace injury occurs in facilities with dirty floors and poor maintenance practices. Proper lighting is essential throughout the workplace, so that workers can clearly see and avoid potential walkway hazards. Skid-resistant surfaces and handrails on ramps and sloped walking surfaces can also help prevent accidental injury. And, of course, keeping all walkways clear and clutter-free reduces the risk of workplace falls.
Determining Liability for Injuries in the Workplace
An employer may be held legally liable for a workplace injury from a slip and fall if the employer or another employee caused the floor surface to become unsafe, such as by spilling a substance or cluttering a walkway. Employers may also be held accountable if they knew about the dangerous walking surface and failed to take care of the situation. In some cases, employers may be found liable even if they didn’t know about the floor conditions, if it can be proven that they should have known. In these cases, the employer may be found liable for the workplace injury if any reasonable person taking care of the property would have discovered the unsafe floor surface and would have taken steps to fix the problem.
Workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits due to slips and falls can be quite complicated. If you have suffered a workplace injury in the Boise, Idaho, area, schedule a free consultation today with Montgomery Law. The experienced attorneys of Montgomery Law can answer all your questions and help you obtain the compensation you deserve for a workplace injury.