It’s no surprise that outside of motor vehicle accidents the kind of accident which leads to the most injuries, time spent in hospital and time away from work are slips, trips and falls.
Sometimes these kinds of accidents are unavoidable and only result in a little bruising and a lot of embarrassment! However, other times a slip injury from a fall can be far more serious. Certain industries carry an inherent risk, if you work on a site for example, there are going to be trip hazards everywhere but it’s yours and everybody else who works there’s responsibility to make sure these risks are kept to a minimum.
Hazards that need to be kept to a minimum include:
- Loose cabling
- Objects left on the floor where they don’t belong, including boxes and tools
- Spillages, including floors which have been recently cleaned but without any warning signs put in place.
In as much as it is everybody’s responsibility to keep all working environments safe, the final responsibility of the employer to ensure that your workspace is a safe and secure place to be. They should be able to make sure that there are no trailing cables or objects left in areas of high traffic where a trip hazard could be reasonable expected to cause a trip or stumble. If you’ve had an accident where you think some-one else’s irresponsibility or negligence could have contributed to your injuries you could have a claim.
Slipping and falling at work can often lead to a much nastier accident. If you fall from a height, fall and hit a desk or worse yet a piece of machinery which is in operation at the time you could experience injuries far worse than could be expected from a regular fall. A trip on the street could also put you into an extremely dangerous position – imagine tripping over a loose of broken paving stone into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Stumbling on paving results, for the most part, in little more by way of fall injuries than a few grazes and some embarrassment. However, for the elderly a simple fall could become much more serious and in extreme circumstances, deadly.
A duty of care
Our local authorities and councils in the UK are under a duty of care to ensure that the pavements upon which we walk are indeed safe from these kinds of hazards. If you’ve had a fall accident because of sub standard maintenance of a pavement or footpath it is necessary to prove that they failed to take the appropriate action required to make the public highways safe. And that doesn’t just include floor level hazards but also includes street lighting, handrails by steps and clearing dirt, mud and litter from places where such impediments would necessarily create a dangerous environment.
If it comes to shopping centres and supermarkets the responsibility lies with the management, if you have a slip accident here it’s important to report it to a senior member of staff right away. Because they are busy workspaces it’s not unusual to see trip hazards and spills but they should be dealt with promptly and if a floor is left wet then adequate signs should be displayed telling customers so. Shop keepers have a duty of care to ensure that their visitors are safe so if you do have an accident which they could and should have prevented you might be able to make a personal injury claim against them.