The Last Days of Winter Still Pose Slip & Fall Risks to Michigan Residents
Employee slips and falls are major causes of injury for businesses to own up to, and late-winter weather can serve as the perfect partner. The risk of someone taking a major tumble down slick steps or walkways increases during this time as the weather warms up and snow and ice melt but refreezes during cooler afternoon hours. Stairways, parking lots, doorways, and common walkways become potentially dangerous places for someone to have a slip and fall injury. These slick surfaces can quickly become a hazard for business owners who have a responsibility to prevent and clear icy areas for customers and employees. Negligence from managing icy pathways can lead to major injuries, loss of productivity, replacement employee costs, overtime for existing employees, and increased workers’ compensation costs.
Nearly 25,000 slip and fall accidents occur daily in the United States. More shocking is the estimated 16,000 people who die each year as a result of a fall. In fact, one in five emergency room visits is the result of a fall. Slips and trips also account for about 15 percent to 20 percent of all workers’ compensation costs. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, these accidents are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of occupational fatalities.
Employers can help workers reduce their risk of late-winter slip and fall injuries by advising them with these safety suggestions.
- Be on alert. Report slippery walkways or platforms so that they can be salted before someone slips and falls.
- Wear appropriate winter footwear that is well-insulated, waterproof, has a nonslip, thick sole and a wide, low heel.
- Use walkways that have been salted or shoveled. Don’t take shortcuts over snow piles or in areas where snow and ice removal isn’t feasible. Be prepared for black-ice formation after melting occurs. Avoid walking in on those areas.
- Plan and test your travel path. Exercise caution when reviewing your travel path. Test for slickness by sliding your shoe or boot on it before proceeding.
- Do the penguin shuffle. Walk flat-footed and like a penguin. Take short steps to maintain your center of balance over your feet. Keep your head up and don’t lean forward. Walk slowly.
- Step down, not out. When getting out of your car, swing both legs out of the door, place both feet on the ground, flatfooted and grab onto the door frame or steering wheel to support you as you stand up. Use at least three points of contact, two feet and one hand. When stepping down from a curb, step flatfooted off the curb to minimize your forward momentum. Don’t allow the leading foot to land heel-first.
It’s also important for workers to exercise extra caution when carrying objects across slippery surfaces, because of the possibility of losing their balance. They should not make abrupt turns and should ask for help when carrying heavy or bulky items across snowy and icy surfaces.
Contact an Experienced Michigan Slip & Fall Injury Lawyer
While falls can be common in the winter months, they can still cause serious injury or death. When caused by the negligence of others, victims can live with debilitating consequences. The Lee Steinberg Law Firm are the experts in Michigan slip and fall and Michigan trip and fall law. We have a team of experienced attorneys dedicated to helping you get the compensation you deserve. Please call Lee Free and Michigan slip and fall lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form.