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K-State Today

June 22, 2011

Slip, trip and fall prevention

Submitted by Lisa Linck

Slips, trips and falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for nearly 8.6 million* visits to the emergency room. Adults 55 and older are more prone to being victims of falls, and the resulting injuries can diminish the ability to lead active, independent lives. The number of falling deaths among adults 65 or older is 4 times the number of falling deaths among all other age groups.

Most common locations for falls:

• Doorways

• Ramps

• Cluttered hallways

• Areas with heavy traffic

• Uneven surfaces

• Areas prone to wetness or spills

Most common locations for falls to another level:

• Unguarded heights

• Unstable work surfaces

• Ladders

• Stairs

Here are some fall-proofing tips for work and home:

• Clean up all spills immediately

• Stay off freshly mopped floors

• Secure electrical and phone cords out of traffic areas

• Remove small throw rugs or use non-skid mats

• Keep frequently used items in easily reachable areas

• Wear shoes with good support and slip resistant soles

• Arrange furniture to provide open walking pathways

• Keep drawers and cabinet doors closed at all times

• Remove tripping hazards (paper, boxes, books, clothes, toys, shoes) from stairs and walkways

• Install handrails on all staircases on both sides

• If you have young children, install gates at the top and bottom of stairs (unlatch the gate to pass – don’t climb over them)

• Ensure adequate lighting both indoors and outdoors

• Remove debris from exterior walkways

• Adjust gutter downspouts to drive water away from pathways

• Periodically check the condition of walkways and steps, and repair damages immediately

• Never stand on a chair, table or other surface on wheels

* According to Injury Facts 2011 edition, based on 2008 data