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How to help avoid becoming a workplace injury statistic

Whether you’re in your workplace or visiting another place of business, property owners owe you a safe environment that’s free from unnecessary and unmarked hazards. If they fail to provide those, and you are injured as a result, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit to seek compensation for medical care, physical therapy, lost wages and other damages.

Property owners should work to prevent slipping hazards like wet floors and tripping hazards like uneven walking surfaces, cords and loose rugs. They should also work to clear weather-related hazards like ice and leaves on walkways.

Meanwhile, you can take steps to avoid becoming a statistic. While many accidents involving tripping, slipping and/or falling do not result in serious physical harm, they are still the leading cause of accidental death, behind only vehicle accidents.

Following are some precautions you can take:

— Watch where you’re walking. Just as driving while looking at your cellphone is dangerous, so is walking. Many accidents are caused when people are focused on something else, carrying objects that limit their visibility, hurrying and/or not using a designated walkway.

— Wear shoes with good traction. This is particularly important for employees who encounter wet, uneven surfaces throughout the day. Women should avoid wearing high heels and everyone should avoid shoes with slick soles. If you have shoes that tie, you may want to double-knot them to prevent them from becoming untied and tripping over them.

— If you see something, say something. Whether you are an employee, customer or visitor to a business, you should inform someone in authority there if you notice a potentially-dangerous condition such as a wet floor, a tripping hazard like a throw rug or a cord or objects preventing a path.

If you do become injured in an accident that you believe could have been prevented by proper vigilance by the property owner or manager, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. However, the defendant’s attorneys are going to ask if you were taking proper and reasonable precautions to avoid becoming injured.

Source: Reliable Plant, “6 guidelines to prevent workplace slips, trips and falls,” W.W. Grainger, accessed May. 26, 2015

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