When Danville residents wake up each morning, fall safety is probably the last thing on their minds. However, studies show slip and fall accidents are a leading cause of injury for people in Virginia and across the U.S., and winter weather increases the odds of taking a tumble.
Slip and fall injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unintentional falls are the top cause of nonfatal emergency department visits for Americans in all age groups every year. Some of the most common causes of falls include:
- Uneven flooring
- Slick surfaces
- Obstructed walkways
- Improper use of ladders
These mishaps happen everywhere, including in homes, workspaces and public areas, such as supermarkets and parking lots. The danger increases during the winter months, when rain, snow and ice make pavement and flooring more slippery.
Slip and fall statistics
The CDC reports that nearly 7 million people sought emergency treatment for slip and fall injuries in 2020. Americans age 65 and older were the most at-risk age demographic, accounting for nearly 3 million fall-related ER visits. Adults between the ages of 55 and 64 were the second riskiest demographic, accounting for 884,089 visits.
Common fall-related injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Bone fractures, especially hips, arms and wrists
- Cuts and abrasions
- Sprains and other soft-tissue damage
- Back injuries
According to CDC data, medical treatments for slip and fall injuries cost at least $50 billion each year. Meanwhile, studies show falls are responsible for almost 30% of all workers’ compensation claims, with settlements averaging $48,000.
To avoid slip and fall accidents, experts say individuals and businesses should remove clutter, check flooring for trip hazards, immediately clean up spills and clear ice from walkways. When using ladders, people should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use safety equipment.