Throughout the course of a day, most people experience a misstep or encounter a situation that might cause a stumble. For a younger person, they will often catch themselves or if they do fall, it's more likely that they can pick themselves up and go about their business. But for an older person, a stumble or a missed curb more frequently leads to a fall, often with more serious consequences than a minor bruise. Slips, trips, and falls constitute a high percentage of workplace accident. Slips, trips, and falls cause 15% of all accidental deaths and are second only to auto accidents. Of general industry accidents. They cause 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities.

A look at the changing demographics can help business owners better understand the risk of slips and falls in the workplace to their employees, customers and visitors. The world's population is projected to triple by midcentury, from 516 million in 2009 to 1.53 billion by 2050. As of 2009 less than 8% of the world's population is 65 years old and older. By 2030 this demographic is expected to reach 12% and by 2050 to grow to 16%. In the US the population 65 years and older will more than double by 2050, rising from 39 million in 2009 to 89 million. The most populated states that have the largest number of people over 65 years are California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. You may be thinking that given the demographics presented above that there is nothing you can do to address the issue. But, there are practical and effective countermeasures to minimize specific fall risk factors.

Managing the Hazard

Slip and fall accidents can be very costly to companies and building owners. Property owners face potential liability for injuries to their employees as well as to the general public that might be on their property at any given time. Back injuries, strains, sprains, contusions, and fractures are common injuries related to slip and fall accidents. Management of slip and fall issues is often thought of as a reactive process – if the floor is wet, clean it up or if there is debris on the floor, sweep it up. While these activities are often proper courses of action, a better course of action is to prevent the deficiency from occurring in the first place.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.