Owner Responsibilities to Prevent Slip, Trip, and Fall Injuries

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the majority of accidents in the workplace result from slips, trips, and falls.  Most of these slips, trips, and fall are preventable by utilizing general safety precautions and measures.  OSHA is tasked with preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and occupational fatality by creating and enforcing workplace standards for safety and health.  OSHA regulations cover most private employers and workplaces.  The OSH Act allows states to develop their own approved plans so long as they cover public sector employers and provide protection similar to OSHA’s protections.

Slips, Trips, and Falls Defined

Slips occur when there is too little traction or friction between a person’s shoe and the floor.  Trips usually happen when a person’s foot comes into contact with an object in its path or drops down to a lower level unexpectedly, throwing the individual off balance.  In general, falls occur when an individual is too far off balance.  There are 2 types of falls: same level and from an elevation.  Same level falls happen when a person falls to the same surface he or she is walking on.  These are more common and are usually linked with a slip or trip.  Falls from an elevation occur when you fall to a level below the one you are walking or standing on; these falls are usually more severe and are often caused by stairs, ladders, loading docks, and platforms.

Premise Liability and Owner Prevention

Premise liability is the landowner’s liability for incidents (torts) that occur on his property.  Premise liability holds the owner (or person in possession or responsible for) of the land responsible for certain injuries to persons present on the property.  Premise liability applies only if (1) the defendant/owner possesses the land; (2) the person injured is an invitee (person on the property for business purposes), or in some cases a licensee (such as a friend- invited for non-business purpose); and (3) there is some negligence or other wrongful act.  Premise liability deals with an owner breaching the duty owned to protect invitees from dangerous conditions and defects on the property.  The owner has the duty to use reasonable care in managing the property and protecting those from unreasonable risks of harm.

Property owners, supervisors, managers, etc. need to work together to prevent these accidental slips, trips, and falls.  Owners and managers should make frequent inspections of the walking and working areas in order to identify potential hazards that could cause accidents.  Unsafe practices, habits, or conditions should be remedied immediately.  Employees and workers should be required to wear appropriate footwear and attire necessary for their work- whether inside, outside, in a shop, or in the office.  All accidents, slips, trips, and falls should be recorded, even if there is no injury.  Finally, each and every accident or incident should be thoroughly investigated.

Importance of Speaking with a Lawyer

If you would like more information concerning premise liability, owner responsibility in preventing slips, trips, and falls, or OSHA and its regulations, please contact a qualified attorney in your area.

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