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What's the differences between slips, trips and falls?

According to Carnegie Mellon University, 15 percent of all accidental deaths are due to slips, trips and falls. It is second only to fatalities caused by motor vehicles.

Is there a difference between a slip, a trip and a fall? For victims, there really isn't much difference. Pain is pain, right? However, there are some real differences.

Slips happen when there isn't enough traction or friction between the walking surface and your feet. Slips most commonly occur on wet or icy surfaces or when footwear has poor tread. Tips for preventing slips include:

-- Wearing shoes with slip-resistant footwear.

-- Walk slowly on surfaces affected by rain, snow, sleet or other weather hazards.

-- Clean up spills as soon as possible.

-- When walking on wet surfaces, walk with your feet pointed out slightly, shorten your stride and make wider turns.

Trips are different. These accidents occur when you are thrown off balance because your foot strikes an object. In order to avoid tripping on something:

-- Keep glasses clean of fog.

-- Don't let packages you carry to obstruct your view.

-- Report missing or burned out lights, broken or uneven pavement or broken or missing handrails.

-- Be conscious of an elevator's threshold.

-- Close file cabinet and desk drawers when you're not using them.

Finally, falls occur from one level to another level. Falling down stairs is one of the most common examples. Ways to prevent falls include:

-- Never using a chair as a ladder.

-- Use the proper ladder for the job.

-- Don't jump from the last step on a flight of stairs -- always walk.

-- Use handrails.

-- Always report conditions that could be unsafe.

No matter how safe you may believe you are at work, an accident can still occur. If this happens to you and is due to the negligence of your employer, you have a right to seek workers' compensation benefits. If those benefits are denied, an attorney can help you learn more about your legal options.

Source: Carnegie Mellon University, "Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention," accessed Aug. 28, 2016

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