Slips trips and falls are the second leading cause of injury and death. In the United States approximately 25,000 slips, trips and falls occur every day, which represents about 15% of all claims. Slips and falls typically cause injuries to the knee, ankle and/or foot, wrist and/or elbow, back, shoulder and/or hip as well as head and brain injuries.
Where and How Slips Trips and Falls Occur
Slips trips and falls may occur in public places, such as stores, restaurants, hospitals, etc. as well as workplaces and homes. Slips are caused when the friction or traction between the footwear and walking surface is too low, resulting in loss of balance. Whereas trips may occur when the friction between footwear and flooring is too high.
Causes of Slips
Slips may be caused when there is a wet product or spill, such as water, mud, grease, oil, food, blood, etc., on smooth floors or walking surfaces. Dry products, such as powders, granules and other foreign matter can also make walking surfaces slippery. Highly polished surfaces, such as freshly waxed surfaces, marble and ceramic tile can be slippery even when dry.
Causes of Trips
Trips may occur when there is material on a walkway, such as debris, or trailing cables, protruding objects and other uneven surfaces. Uneven surfaces, sloped walkways, steps, loose flooring and transitions between two surfaces can also affect slip trip and fall risk.
The risk of slips, trips and falls may be heightened due to poor lighting, poor housekeeping including improper cleaning methods and products, improper footwear, or slippery surfaces.
Flooring and Footwear
The two primary contributing risk factors to slips trips and falls are flooring / walking surfaces and footwear.
The standards for evaluation of flooring have changed over the past 5 years. Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF) is the new industry standard for measuring a surface’s slip resistance during motion.
The ‘Gold-Standard’ for measuring DCOF of flooring surfaces requires a dedicated instrument called the BOT-3000E.
The BOT-3000E is a calibrated instrument, the results of which are accepted in jurisdictions nationwide to determine whether or not a particular flooring surface was the primary cause of a slip trip and fall event.
Improper footwear is also a key factor, especially in cases involving weather (rain, snow and ice), as which the material of the shoe sole may be inappropriate under certain conditions. Debris can also become embedded in the sole of the footwear, adversely affecting the coefficient of friction between footwear and flooring.
In many cases there may be contributory human factors, such as failing eyesight or visual perception, age, physical condition and fatigue, stress or illness, as well as medications, alcohol and drug effects. Carrying or moving objects, inattentiveness, taking shortcuts and being in a hurry or rushing can also contribute to a slip trip and fall.
Expert in Slip Trips and Falls, Human Factors and Injury Biomechanics
Dr. Lloyd has served as an expert for both defense and plaintiff’s counsel on a number of cases involving slips trips and falls throughout the United States. Dr. Lloyd is available to travel to investigate the causes of such cases, examining the Dynamic Coefficient of Friction using the ‘gold-standard’ BOT-3000E instrument. Based on his doctorate in ergonomics / human factors, Dr. Lloyd can also determine whether there were contributory human factors issues and given his experience in biomechanics, Dr. Lloyd can assess whether the claimed injuries meet or exceed known biomechanical thresholds of injury.
Please call Dr. Lloyd at 813-624-8986 or email DrJohnLloyd@Tampabay.RR.com to discuss how he can be of assistance with your case.