The National Safety Council (NSC), a nonprofit, nongovernmental public service organization dedicated to protecting life and promoting health would like you to know that June is National Safety Month. Each week during June, the NSC focuses on a safety theme. The 2011 dates and focus themes are:
- Week 1: June 1-4 Summertime Safety
- Week 2: June 5-11 Preventing Overexertion
- Week 3: June 12-18 Teen Driving Safety
- Week 4: June 19-25 Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls
- Week 5: June 26-30 On the Road, Off the Phone
Since next week focuses on the prevention of falls and related injuries, now is a good time to talk about slip and fall accidents, one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the US. According to National Safety Council statistics, falls account for 8.6 million hospital emergency room visits every year. Older adults are more prone to falling, and suffering a serious injury, which could result in permanent disability or long-term medical complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports on their website that the death rates from falls among older men and women have risen sharply over the past decade.
Injuries from slip and fall accidents happen primarily in two different ways. One common accident occurs when the heel of the front (stepping) foot meets something slippery, causing front foot to slide forward, and the individual to lose balance and fall backwards. Conversely, accidents can occur when the back foot slips backward, causing the individual to fall forward. Trip and fall accidents happen when the foot strikes an object, such as clutter, debris, or wrinkled carpeting, causing an individual to lose balance and fall.
Slip and fall accidents that occur on a flat service may be caused by wet or oily surfaces, liquid spills, flooring or walking surfaces with uneven traction, or unanchored rugs and mats. Trip and fall accidents may be caused by poor lighting, clutter, uncovered cables, and uneven steps or stairs. When accidents are caused by dangerous conditions on public or private property, the property owners may be liable for slip and fall accident injuries and medical expenses.
Loss of balance and a resulting injury can also be caused by poor tread or traction on footwear, and wearing unsafe shoes. Recently, we are seeing a trending new cause of trip and fall accidents: toning shoes. The rounded soles of popular celebrity endorsed Skechers Shape-ups and other similar toning shoes are causing many individuals to lose balance and fall, resulting in a wide range of injuries, including trimalleolar ankle fractures, patella fractures, and femur and pelvis fractures.
For more information about slip and fall accidents and injury prevention visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Safety Council websites. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident and would like to know about your legal rights in a premises liability claim, contact a northern California slip and fall accident lawyer.