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The Centers for Disease Control has dedicated a whole page to slips and falls in the most susceptible populations. The two most common accidents involve accidents in the workplace, and adults over the age of 65. In fact, slips and falls were the number one cause of injuries and death for this age group in America in 2014.
The South Carolina Department Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) released data showing that slips and falls claimed 417 lives in 2014. The most at-risk group was people aged 85 and older, and women from that group were the most likely to be hospitalized due to these types of injuries.
The CDC and the South Carolina DHEC has released several publications for distribution covering prevention of slip and fall accidents. The DHEC has worked with the CDC, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Federal and State branches of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) to compile health and safety education documents to help prevent these kinds of accidents in the workplace.
Resources for Slip and Fall Accident Prevention
In an effort to provide the loved ones of at risk groups with more information about slip and fall prevention, the CDC also released several prevention education documents. Following is a list of publications and links to find them online.
- Important Facts about Falls – CDC – A fact sheet discussing slips and falls as a general topic
- Falls in the Workplace – CDC – A NIOSH publication which provides in-depth discussion of various types of slips and falls in the workplace
- Occupational Injuries & Fatalities Due To Falls – NIOSH – A summary document discussing injuries and fatalities from slip and fall accidents, as well as accident prevention.
- Falls are leading cause of injury and death in older Americans – CDC – An archive of a detailed new report published by the CDC regarding slips and falls of the elderly. The article includes discussion of the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries (STEADI) initiative, as well as how to reduce the risks of falling.
- Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention for Healthcare Workers – NIOSH – an educational booklet with extensive information on slip and fall prevention in the healthcare workplace.
- Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries (STEADI) – CDC – The homepage of the CDC STEADI initiative. This page provides links to more information, as well as educational material for use and distribution.
- STEADI Materials for Healthcare Providers – CDC – A resource page providing reading and educational materials for healthcare providers. This includes the Algorithm for Fall Risk Screening, Assessment, and Intervention resource, and the Preventing Falls in Older Patients: Provider Pocket Guide.
- Algorithm for Fall Risk Screening, Assessment, and Intervention – CDC – An educational resource document in PDF format for providing medical care professionals with the information needed to help prevent slips and falls.
- Preventing Falls in Older Patients: Provider Pocket Guide – CDC – A PDF resource for medical professionals which provides advisement about assisting patients about slip and fall prevention for patients ages 65 and older.
- Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls in Wholesale and Retail Trade Establishments -NIOSH – A PDF document resource to provide workers and employers in the retail trades with education about slips and falls in the workplace, as well as how to prevent them.
What to do When Slip and Fall Prevention Fails
It’s as important to know what to do after a slip and fall accident as it is to prevent them taking place. Whether the accident was due to the victim’s own actions, or due to the negligence of others, immediate response is important.
The first thing to do immediately after a slip and fall accident happens is to check the condition of the victim. If an incident did not cause any visible harm, it’s still important to make sure the injured party gets a medical screening. If possible, offer them a ride to the hospital to request an assessment of their injuries.
Another very important step to take immediately after an injury is to fill out and file an incident report. Details of the report should include, at a minimum:
- The location of the accident
- A detailed description of the accident. Be sure to include a description of the circumstances which led to the accident. Doing this right when the incident is still fresh in people’s minds helps paint a clearer picture about what happened.
- Surface conditions which may have led to the accident. This may include a wet floor, a wrinkle in the carpet, or a loose floorboard.
- Related weather conditions, especially in the event of rain or other inclement weather
- The date and time of the incident
- What was the victim doing prior to the accident? Were they walking when they slipped in puddle, or were they running on a linoleum floor?
- The footwear the injured person was wearing. Safety shoes shouldn’t slip when walking on a slippery service. On the other hand, flat soled dress shoes may have contributed to the incident.
- Names of victims and, if possible, contact information for follow-up by insurance and authorities
- Any details related to the accident or surroundings. This could include whether a wet floor had a caution sign, or if an elderly or injured person was walking with a can or walking stick.
- The documentor’s name and contact information
Always Watch an Injured Victim
Keep a close eye on the person who suffered the fall. A spine, neck, or head injury could have serious implications. Never ignore a person who hit their head during the fall. In many cases, traumatic brain injury (TBI) was discovered long after the accident. A concussion injury is also very dangerous and should be monitored for any changes in the person’s health.
Fill out any worker’s compensation or official incident reports for injuries that happened while a person was working. In any case where the injured person was not at fault, they should be considering Workers Compensation. This is especially true if the injuries led to any sort of disability, whether temporary or permanent.
Don’t speak to the insurance company about an incident if you or someone close to you was hurt in a slip and fall accident. Doing so could unwittingly lead to presumptions of fault by the insurance provider. Furthermore, legal representation should be contacted if a slip and fall accident was not the fault of the victim.
Get Advice About What to do After a Slip and Fall Incident
There is a litany of events, people, and organizations that can contact a person after being injured from a fall. Medical practitioners will be following up to make sure the injured person didn’t experience any further pain from the injury. Friends, family, coworkers and supervisors will ask about the person’s condition.
If a person was hurt while they were in business, the business’s insurance will want to follow up. This is when things can get tricky. Anyone contacted by an insurance agency should contact a lawyer with experience in personal injury and workplace accidents. Giving too much information can lead to a low settlement and unfair compensation.
Insurance companies are not out to help. They’re out to make money and keep money. Never trust an insurance representative to have you or your loved one’s best interests in mind. They work for the insurance company, and the company wants to succeed as a business.