Blanco County News
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Health and Wellness
Preventing Slips, Trips, Falls
Wellness Consultant
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 • Posted June 14, 2012 4:16 PM

Most falls are preventable. Many people attribute falls to being clumsy or not paying attention, but many risk factors exist. Risk factors include physical hazards in the environment, age-related issues and health conditions. Reduce your risk and find fall hazards in your workplace, home, and community to prevent injuries and keep others safe round the clock.

Since my recent fall on the uneven side-walk between the bank and our local post office, I have a personal interest in the prevention of further injury from this local hazard.

Statistics show that the majority (60 percent) of falls happen on the same level resulting from slips and trips. The remaining 40 percent are falls from a height. This document will summarize information on “falls on the same level” (slips and trips). Falls from an elevation, such as falls from ladders, roofs, down stairs or from jumping to a lower level, etc., will not be addressed.

Slips

Slips happen where there is too little friction or traction between the footwear and the walking surface. Common causes of slips are: wet or oily surfaces; occasional spills; weather hazards; loose, unanchored rugs or mats; flooring or other walking surfaces that do not have same degree of traction in all areas

Trips

Trips happen when your foot collides (strikes, hits) an object causing you to lose the balance and, eventually fall. Common causes of tripping are: obstructed view; poor lighting; clutter in your way; wrinkled carpeting; uncovered cables; bottom drawers not being closed; uneven (steps, thresholds) walking surfaces.

How to prevent falls due to slips and trips?

Both slips and trips result from some kind of unintended or unexpected change in the contact between the feet and the ground or walking surface. This shows that good housekeeping, quality of walking surfaces (flooring, sidewalks), selection of proper footwear, and appropriate pace of walking are critical for preventing fall accidents.

Housekeeping

Good housekeeping is the first and the most important (fundamental) level of preventing falls due to slips and trips. It includes: cleaning all spills immediately; marking spills and wet areas; mopping or sweeping debris from floors; removing obstacles from walkways and always keeping them free of clutter; securing (tacking, taping, etc.) mats, rugs and carpets that do not lie flat; always closing file cabinet or storage drawers; covering cables that cross walkways; keeping working areas and walkways well lit; replacing used light bulbs and faulty switches.

Without good housekeeping practices, any other preventive measures such as installation of sophisticated flooring, specialty footwear or training on techniques of walking and safe falling will never be fully effective.

Walking Surfaces

Changing or modifying walking surfaces is the next level of preventing slip and trips. Recoating or replacing floors, installing mats, pressure-sensitive abrasive strips or abrasive-filled paint or coating and metal or synthetic decking can further improve safety and reduce risk of falling. However, it is critical to remember that high-tech flooring requires good housekeeping as much as any other flooring. In addition, resilient, non-slippery flooring prevents or reduces foot fatigue and contributes to slip prevention.

Let’s consider how to make our homes, shops, work environment and city sidewalks user friendly to prevent future accidents and injuries.

Disclaimer: Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published trade books. These articles are written and published strictly for information purposes. Consult your health care provider for your specific medical needs. For any questions, comments or suggestions contact Maryella at maryella@4-spirit-soul-body.com or www.maryellajuiceplus.com

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