Second only to motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents account for 23 percent of all accidental deaths in the United States and 25 percent of all emergency room visits, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Slips, trips and falls are also among the most common causes of general liability claims against public entities.
“Slip-and-fall accidents are a significant contributor to injuries to building visitors and a major workplace hazard,” said Bob Marinelli, risk control manager for Argo Group’s Trident Public Risk Solutions, a leader in the public sector insurance and risk management marketplace. “Local governments and other public entities should take steps to reduce the risk of such incidents.”
And you should start before the first snowflake is in the forecast. The town of Cary, North Carolina, for example, already began wintry weather preparation training including testing snow plow trucks in October.
Slips and falls can cause injuries including fractures, head trauma, sprains and back strains, and led to workers’ compensation costs of $15.6 billion in 2011, according to the National Safety Council.
The risk is magnified by the arrival of winter weather. In 2014, there were 42,480 workplace injuries and illnesses involving ice, sleet, or snow that required at least one day away from work to recuperate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As winter approaches, local governments can reduce slips and falls by taking these steps: