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Myths vs. reality: How easy is it to avoid a slip-and-fall?

Whether at work or running errands around town, possibilities abound to fall and become injured. You do not have to work in a hazardous environment to risk slipping and falling, but your employer could require workers to wear non-slip shoes regardless. After a spill at your office or supermarket, someone may put up a sign warning about the wet floor. Exactly how effective are the usual measures in preventing everyday slips and falls for people in Virginia?

You, your employer and others may believe it is only a matter of common sense and the right protective gear to prevent falls in public and at work. However, EHS Today challenges some of these longstanding beliefs by presenting ways you and others may easily fall despite preventive measures.

Shoes

People in the restaurant industry and other jobs where wet or slick floors are common are usually required to wear certified non-slip footwear. Additionally, it is often encouraged to wear sturdy shoes that have a good grip when out in adverse weather. While these may be good tips, you cannot always rely on your shoes to protect you on a slippery surface.

Signs

If you see a “wet floor” sign, you will usually steer clear of the spill. However, when such signs become part of the landscape, it can be easy to forget they are there. If there is abundant signage at your workplace warning about walking carefully and watching out for spills, you eventually "tune out" the warnings.

Awareness

People are advised to be aware of their surroundings wherever they go. While this advice may work on a particularly icy day, you do not spend all your time watching out for spills or debris.

These tips can help you avoid a fall, but more often than not, they put the responsibility of safety on you, the potential victim, and fail to address the more important matter of removing hazards before someone is seriously hurt.

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Whitestone Young, PC
10513 Judicial Drive Suite 300
Fairfax, VA 22030-7528

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