Falls have overtaken motor-vehicle accidents as the major cause of serious injury in Canada – and many are preventable including the litigation that sometimes results

It`s so easy to do stupid things.  I know this from experience.

I thought this when I read the front page of today`s National Post about the increase in accidents when people fall from ladders, porch railings and roofs trying to hang Christmas lights.

The item reports studies documenting the increase in accidents seen by Canadian hospitals to people putting up their lights.  Many are severe some are deadly.

One hospital reported an average of four severe accidents per year at Christmas in the past decade.  Another indicates 14 times as many check in at Christmas for less serious Christmas-light injuries.

We forget when we are on a ladder that we are one to three stories above the ground.  I forgot.

I investigated the cause of a fatal step ladder accident a few years ago.  A chap was one story up checking services above a hung ceiling when he fell, struck his head and died.

Three months later I was one story up nailing a board in place on a storage shed on my property, leaned too far and fell.  The fall knocked me out for long seconds.  I was lucky though because there were cobbles and small boulders exposed at the ground surface and my head missed every one.

Decoration-installing falls are only a sub-set of a much larger, generally overlooked problem.

The National Post reports that falls in general have overtaken motor-vehicle accidents as the major cause of serious injury in Canada.

It`s no different in the U.S. where more than one million people suffer from a slip, trip or fall each year.  In 2005, 17,700 died as a result of falls (U. S. National Safety Council, 2007).  In public places, falls are far and away the leading cause of injury.

I`ve read some of the engineering literature on the investigation of slip, trip and fall accidents, and the slip and fall legal practice handbooks.  Many falls are preventable.  This is far cheaper than pressing or defending a claim for damages.

Last evening I went for a swim in a rec centre.  As per my routine, I bake a little in the sauna before and after my swim – also soak in the hot tub.  The sauna floor has a very good skid resistant mat.  The pool deck is also highly skid resistance.  The shower room floor just outside the sauna and the dressing room floor beyond are as slippery as any I’ve seen.  A preventable slip and fall accident waiting to happen.


Comments are closed.