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The toll of slips, trips and falls on the U.S. workforce

The unfortunate reality is that most people think that work injuries simply couldn't happen to them. They think that they are reserved solely for those men and women who make their living in inherently dangerous occupations, perhaps using heavy machinery or being exposed to hazardous materials.

The simple truth, however, is that almost anyone in any profession can be hurt on the job. For example, a nurse walking down the hall during a shift can slip and fall on a wet floor, or an office worker can trip and fall on an uneven floor surface. It's slip, trip and fall accidents like these that can turn a person's life upside down.

To illustrate, consider some of these statistics relating to the overall impact of slips, trips and falls on the U.S. workforce:

  • 9 million people are taken to the emergency room every year for slips, trips and falls
  • 95 million work days are lost every year due to slips, trips and falls
  • 38 days is the average amount of days employees injured in slips, trips and falls spend away from work 
  • 35 percent of all work-related accidents can be classified as falls
  • The five professions in which people miss the most time for slips, trips and falls are police officers, janitors, truck drivers, nurses and laborers

While these figures are truly shocking, the good news is that employers can take relatively simple steps to protect their employees from the debilitating work injuries typically suffered in slip, trip and fall accidents.

Some of these include the following:

  • Posting signs warning of wet/slick floor conditions (a must in snowy states like Illinois) and keeping all walking areas dry
  • Removing obstructions from walking areas and eliminating hidden dangers (cords, slippery mats, etc.)
  • Repairing all uneven floor surfaces and installing non-slip surfaces in areas known to be slippery
  • Providing adequate lighting in all areas, particularly halls and stairwells

Consider speaking with an experienced workers' compensation attorney to learn more about your options if you have suffered serious injuries in a workplace accident.

Source: EHS Today, "Infographic: The High Cost of Slips, Trips and Falls," Sandy Smith, July 15, 2013

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