Slips, Trips, and Falls
Business owners in the Midwest are aware of the potential for slips and falls during the ice and snow of the winter months. But trips, slips, and falls can occur anytime, anywhere, and lead to large liability claims. Loose asphalt on the driveway, that floor mat that keeps curling up at the corners, even a sidewalk elevation change as little as 1/4” can cause someone to trip, slip, and fall. These scenarios can be even more dangerous than ice and snow because people usually aren’t thinking of their walking surfaces during the warmer months. Thus tripping over a sidewalk change can catch people off guard and give them less time to react. How bad of an injury can possibly happen with a trip and fall on a sidewalk? Pretty bad. Broken bones including fingers, wrists, arms, and even ribs can happen. Just as bad is a sprained ankle – those can take several months to heal.
Are your sidewalks level with no cracks or loose concrete? Are spills (liquid or otherwise) cleaned up in a timely manner with the area blocked off in the meantime? How about those old floor mats—perhaps it’s time to replace them with new ones that don’t curl up.
It’s not just level floors and sidewalks you need to watch out for. Many apartment buildings have outside stairs and balconies. Hand rail condition is an effortless thing to look for. But, just like other walking surfaces, it can be just as easy to overlook stair and balcony support condition. A rotted balcony support can cause the entire balcony to collapse, taking everything down with it, including people. While steps can certainly rot, more times the problem with outside stairs is a cracked string. The strings (usually 2 or 3) support the steps. Because of weather conditions and design differences, outdoor strings generally aren’t as tough as indoor strings, making them more susceptible to cracking. A cracked string may function for awhile, until one day it collapses under the weight of a person. It’s something to look out for when conducting your own inspection of your property.
Keeping alert of your walking surfaces can save injuries and insurance claims. It’s all a matter of safety.
Loss Control Representative