Slip and fall accidents catch most people completely off guard and cause injuries that tend to have a consequential effect. Slips and falls are a major cause of serious injuries in the United States, making up an estimated 20 percent of injuries in a year. Injuries associated with slips and falls are costly to the health care system. In a study in the United States, to prevent one slip and fall injury per 20,000 people, policy makers would need to spend about $36.5 billion each year.
Factors that increase a person’s risk of injury from a slip or fall include the type of institution the person goes to, socioeconomic factors, sexual behaviors, age, gender, physical capabilities, and housing characteristics.
Men are more likely to be injured from slipping than women, but this could be explained by differences in their exposure to risks from external sources such as child care and work. Men tend to be exposed to the risks of slip and fall injuries from having higher socioeconomic status, higher education, and having more household workers. Men also tend to be more frequently exposed to house work such as dishwashing or gardening, which is a hazardous occupation that results in slips and falls, even more with conditions of poor lighting, that make these accidents more frequent, and that’s why many people look for legal help, to cover these accidents.
Factors that decrease a person’s risk of injury from a slip or fall include having a good walking or running stride, having a high level of fitness, walking along well-defined surfaces, getting out of high-risk situations, and keeping an eye on one’s surroundings.
With respect to the role of occupational safety programs and mechanisms to prevent slips and falls, we discuss research that examines their effectiveness, such as the following:
A number of international surveys demonstrate that, with some exceptions, workplace safety programs are ineffective. A review by Bony et al found that 87 percent of studies found no evidence of either a reduction in occupational injuries or a reduction in the health care costs of falls. Overall, they concluded that workplace safety programs, while having a few modestly effective programs in some countries, have no statistically significant impact on reducing the overall injuries or health care costs of falls.
A meta-analysis found that workplace safety programs have a large effect on reducing injuries. However, in the United States, the effect of workplace safety programs on reducing injuries is at the level of a small effect.
Another study of 16 countries compared the impact of policies to prevent falls on injuries. It found that falls are significantly and negatively related to the size of the policies and that the costs of injuries due to falls are often more than offset by the benefits of the policies.
A study of 84 countries including 17 countries in Europe, 13 countries in North America, and 1 country in Asia found that the impact of workplace safety policies on the number of injuries or illnesses for children under 5 years of age is small and the policies provide some protection only when children are in institutions. However, there were no significant differences in health care costs.
Another study found that although three small countries had some policies in place, Australia and Hong Kong did not have any effective workplace safety programs, while New Zealand and France had some effective policies in place.
A 2009 study concluded that countries with effective workplace safety programs experienced less fatal work injuries and fewer days lost due to work-related disease and injury. The study investigated the effect of six different safety programs – comprehensive annual health checks, mandatory fall prevention training, employee training, safety breaks, employer complaints, and workplace inspections and enforcement of working conditions – on the annual number of work-related fatalities and the number of work-related days lost due fall and slip accidents.