Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls
No matter how healthy our legs are, we all can fall down sometimes. While most falls don’t cause long-term harm and might result in just scrapes and bruises, sometimes a fall can be a serious accident causing internal injuries, sprains, or fractures to the feet, hands, hips, or other body areas.
This is why fall prevention is such an important safety precaution, and JAG Physical Therapy is proud to offer a robust program to help business owners, senior citizens, coaches, and all other groups keep themselves and others from falling and being injured. Contact us to learn more, book a fall prevention consultation today, or read on to find out more about mitigating the risk of falling in different situations.
How Do Falls Happen?
Falling can be thought of as a physics issue – it occurs any time we are no longer able to balance or are pushed or pulled to the ground by a force. Generally speaking, falling happens due to slipping, when something under our feet causes our bodies to give way, or tripping, when our feet strike something, making us step wrongly and lose balance. Common causes of slips and trips include:
People can easily trip when attempting to walk on a wet or oily surface, and any ordinarily safe ground can become a slip hazard if a liquid or fine powdery substance accidentally spills. Weather hazards, such as icy sidewalks or rain-slick steps, are common causes of slipping, particularly in conditions like a harsh Northeastern winter. Indoors, loose, unanchored rugs or mats can move beneath the feet and cause a slip, and in general, flooring that is uneven or has different degrees of traction in different areas poses a slipping risk.
When we trip and fall, it’s often something that we did not see that caused the trip. Therefore, some of the most prevalent causes of tripping are obstructed view and poor lighting. Clutter on floors presents a tripping risk if one isn’t paying close attention. Carpeting that is wrinkled or otherwise not laid flat on the floor, uncovered cables for computers or other electronic devices attached to a floor outlet, open bottom drawers, and poorly maintained steps or thresholds also pose a clear danger of tripping.
How Can You Prevent Falls Due to Slips and Trips?
Depending on the environment, there are a variety of steps anyone can take to put themselves and others at less risk of tripping or slipping.
Generally, taking diligent care to clean up household messes goes a long way towards preventing falls at home. Naturally, you should clean up all spills immediately, and, if this is not possible right away, mark the spill or wet area to warn yourself and others not to walk there until it is clean. You can mop or sweep solid debris from the floor, take any obstacles off walkways and keep the entire path free from clutter, and secure all mats, rugs, and carpets so that they lay flat and will not bunch up.
Always close your file cabinet and storage drawers as soon as you are done with them, cover cables that cross walkways with a properly secured rug or mat, and keep working areas and walkways well-lit. Finally, regularly replace dim or burnt-out lightbulbs and any faulty switches you may encounter.
The qualities of walking surfaces have a significant impact on how likely it is that a person crossing those surfaces will fall. You can recoat or replace a floor that has become uneven, install high-friction mats in areas where slipping could occur, and double-check all carpeting installation.
The right footwear for the right situation can give you surer footing. Everyone knows not to wear socks on a wood or tile floor, for example, but a choice as simple as cleats when practicing on a field of grass after rain can stop a serious athletic injury from happening. For specific industrial situations, specialized footwear is available, but no type of shoe is rated as anti-slip for every environment. This means you should check the specifications before wearing these types of footwear in a different physical setting.
Avoid Falling at Work
Workplace injuries can be avoided with use of several mental and physical techniques, even in a job site with multiple types of slip and trip hazards. The first and most important of these is not to rush or run in an area like this – take your time and pay attention when traversing the workplace. Adjust your stride by pointing your feet slightly outward to improve your balance, and don’t take corners sharply – turn at a wide angle when you’re walking.
Who May Need Slip and Fall Prevention?
A wide range of people can benefit from JAG PT’s expert slip and fall prevention consultations. Business owners can reduce risk to their employees and customers, comply with state and federal workplace safety regulations, and mitigate their liability for accidents. School advisors and administrators can similarly keep students and faculty safe, and coaches can help their players perform better and reduce the risk of an on-field injury.
Senior citizens are especially vulnerable to dangerous falls, so they and their caretakers can gain greater confidence, mobility, and peace of mind through our program. And property owners can protect their family and guests while also avoiding liability if an accident happens.
Sign Up Today at JAG Physical Therapy
Nearly all slips and falls can be prevented, so learn to identify and control hazards that cause slips and falls by participating in our prevention program today. JAG Physical Therapy has over 100 facilities located throughout New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, so there is sure to be a convenient location near you. Stop putting your business, customers, friends and/or family at risk, and learn everything you need to know about slips and falls prevention today. Contact us to learn more and connect with a physical therapist near you.