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Slip, Trip and Fall

According to OSHA “Slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents. They cause 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities.” According to NFSI (National Floor Safety Institute) “Falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits, representing the leading cause of visits (21.3%). Slips and falls account for over 1 million visits, or 12% of total falls. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), floors and flooring materials contribute directly to more than 2 million fall injuries each year. According to the CDC in 2005, more than 15,000 people over the age of 65 died as a result of a fall. Up from 7,700 a decade earlier. The CDC also reports that approximately 1.8 million people over the age of 65 were treated in an emergency room as a result of a fall. For people aged 65-84 years, falls are the second leading cause of injury-related death; for those aged 85 years or older, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death.

​Major causes

  • Slippery surface characterized by low Coefficient of Friction

  • Transition from high a surface with coefficient of friction to another which has a low coefficient of friction

  • Contaminated surface causing a reduction in the Coefficient of Friction. Contaminations include spillage, small particulates (dust, sand etc.), peels and others

  • Uneven walkways with changes in elevation of more than 0.25” (e.g. two concrete slabs that shifted relative to the other)

  • Unstable surface such a loose tile

Services FEI provides

  • Inspect and document the accident site

  • Measurement of the Coefficient of Friction of the surface

  • Check whether OSHA, ADA and local regulations were met

  • Determine the impact forces occurred during the fall

  • Determine other factors that contribute to the accident such illumination and surface contamination

​FEI case examples

​Fall in a food court

A family went to dine in a local mall. One of the kids went to refill his drink and as he walked back to his family’s table he slipped, he fell and injured and severely his wrist.  Our investigation revealed that renovation work was taken place in a large store next to the dining area. As a result dust, comprises of very small particles, was covering was covering sections of the path the kid was using to go back to the table. Measurements of the coefficient of friction showed that due to this dust contamination the value of the coefficient of friction decreased below a safe one. Also, the transition from high value of coefficient of friction (clean part of the path) to the lower one (contaminated part of the path) contributed to the fall.


Fall in hotel’s shower

An elderly guest took a shower in his hotel room. He stepped out dry himself a step out of the bathroom to his room. As he places his foot on the room’s floor he slept, fell and injured himself. Our instigation found the following: 1) Water was leaking from the bathroom’s floor to the room’s floor; 2) While the bathroom’s tiles were slip resistant the one in the room were not; 3) Even in dry conditions the coefficient of friction of the tile in the room was below standard. All these three factors contributed to the accident.

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