The Most Common Slip and Fall Injuries (and how to prevent them)
Slip and fall injuries happen throughout workplaces across the globe, despite how simple and quick it can be to mitigate slip hazards. Over 540,000 slip and fall injuries occur in North America each year, resulting in more than 100 million estimated lost work days. With such a high impact for individuals and businesses, reducing slips and falls through risk management is more important than ever.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Slippery Surfaces and Back Injury From Falling Backwards
Slippery surfaces, like wet or greasy floors, practically invite back injuries, especially back injury caused by falling backwards.
Researchers have found that slipping interrupts a person’s center of gravity (COG), as opposed to stumbling and recovering balance. Some people, particularly older ones, will fall backward when their COG is thrown off-balance. If the faller lands on the buttocks, there will probably just be soreness, but falling on a bony part like the back can result in a devastating injury.
A Shoulder Injury from a Fall is Painful and Complex
Shoulders often take the brunt of a forward fall, and a shoulder injury from a fall impacts soft tissue and bone, making it doubly painful!
These injuries are also complicated from a healing point of view. A hard fall on the shoulder affects both a joint and a limb. It may result in a brachial plexus injury which affects the neural network that connects the arm, hand, and shoulder to the spinal cord. This can require surgery and months of physical therapy.
Elbow injuries from a fall can also affect the brachial plexus, but fractures and dislocation are more common (and quite painful). Dislocation often occurs when a person instinctively puts out a hand to stop a fall, and the force of the fall twists or rotates the elbow out of its socket.
Sticking out a hand to break a fall can also cause a central slip injury, in which the tendon that straightens the middle of a finger has been snapped apart. Splints and physical therapy will be needed to heal it.
Leg Injury From Fall Often Affect the Joints
Unless a person falls on something protruding, most leg injuries from a fall affect the joints, including the knee and hip.
The knee is one of the most complex parts of the body. It supports the body’s weight and injuring it can literally make a person immobile. Common knee injuries from slips and falls include:
- Fractures to the patella (kneecap) that may require surgery
- Dislocation caused by twisting the knee out of joint, similar to brachial plexus injury to the shoulder
- Tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), knee tissue that connects the upper and lower bones that keep the knee stable
Hip fractures resulting from falls among frail elderly people often lead to death within weeks unless surgery is performed within 24 hours, which itself can be risky. The immobility from hip fracture accelerates further decline and often leads to pneumonia.
Short Distance Falls on Hard Surfaces
Short-distance falls like slip and are particularly damaging on harder surfaces with less “give” like concrete, tile, or stone. This is where injuries go beyond painful soft tissue ones to one that affects bones like knees, shoulders, fingers, and elbows which often hit the ground first.
Reducing Slip and Fall Risk
Utilise a granular absorbent for quick spill clean up
Our SpillFix Granular Absorbent is lightweight with high absorbency properties. Grab your SpillFix jar or bag when the spill happens and tip absorbent all around the spill edges and into the middle until it is fully covered. Once covered in SpillFix – sweep it up and dispose of the material according to the guidelines for the spill. Your floor is now slick free and safe to return to work.
Use our super absorbent boom stock to prevent spread
Stop quick moving spills from spreading further with our boom sock. When the spill first occurs, grab a boom sock and encase the hazard with the sock. The thick material will stop the spread of the spill, give you more time to clean it up, as well as acting as a visual aid to stop people stepping in the spill and slipping.
Respond to spills as fast as possible with Spill Kits
Spill Kits bring together all the materials needed to quickly and effectively deal with spills as they happen. Store Spill Kits around your workplace, especially in common spill areas, and teach your staff how to use them effectively. SpillFix Spill Kits are the only Spill Kits on the market to include a granular absorbent – making them the most effective at reducing slip and fall hazards.