Workplace slip and fall accidents are one of the most common causes of injury. This type of incident causes 15% of all accidental deaths—second only to motor vehicle accidents. The greatest number of fatal falls occurs in the construction industry, but virtually every industry has this risk. The health services and retail industries have the highest number of nonfatal slip and fall accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has rules employers must follow to prevent slips and falls, and the best way to protect yourself is to be proactive.
A second of inattention can lead to a catastrophic slip and fall accident, especially if you work from great heights or with dangerous equipment. Texting and walking, for example, can result in falling down a flight of stairs, slipping on an obvious spill, or tripping over an obstacle. Your employer has a duty to take measures to ensure employee safety and reasonably prevent hazardous situations in the workplace. However, you also have a duty to pay attention to where you are going. In Texas, the jurisdiction of modified comparative negligence means if the court finds you more than 50% at fault for a slip and fall accident, you will not receive any compensation.
Ignoring your employer’s dress code or workplace regulations will only result in your own personal injury. Rules are in place to protect you from accidents such as slips and falls. Often, a slip and fall accident results from loss of traction between the shoe and the walking surface. Wear appropriate shoes for your job, with non-slip bottoms and the right type of heel to prevent this kind of accident. If you work in the construction industry, wear the proper harness or other equipment to protect yourself in the event of a fall. The right equipment can mean the difference between life and death in a dangerous industry.
It is up to an employer to create and enforce good housekeeping practices, but as an employee, you must always strive to keep your workplace facility clean and clear of hazardous obstacles. A cluttered workplace is a trip and fall risk, where an immobile or moveable object on the ground comes in contact with a person’s foot, ankle, or shin. Keep the workplace clear of dangerous obstacles, and follow protocol when there is a spill. Mark the area clearly with a warning sign until you can clean the spill. A sloppy workplace is a recipe for disaster, especially in high-risk industries.
If you notice anything in your workplace that stands out to you as a slip and fall hazard, report it to your employer immediately. It is your employer’s duty to remedy dangerous environmental circumstances, such as an uneven sidewalk or an icy parking lot. If your employer knew of the dangerous situation and did nothing to prevent a slip and fall accident, the courts would find him or her at fault. If your employer reasonably could not have known about the hazard, the case will settle differently. Notify your employer about a dangerous spill, poor lighting, obstacles in aisles or walkways, or other hazardous situations so he or she can take the proper steps to remedy the problem.
Many slip and fall accidents are entirely preventable with the proper foresight and attention to the job activity. Do not assume your workplace is safe. Instead, be proactive about your safety and take steps to ensure you will not be the next victim of a serious slip and fall accident. If you do suffer a slip and fall injury, get in touch with a personal injury attorney right away to discuss your case and investigate your workplace.