June is National Safety Month, and of all the existing potential hazards, the National Safety Council has chosen to focus on slips, trips and falls.
Our Montgomery premise liability attorneys know that some people might make light of these incidents as laughable blunders resulting from clumsiness. The reality is, falls can result in serious injury or even death, and a lot of times, there is some kind of negligence involved - whether it occurs at work or at a residence or nursing home or inside a business.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 19,500 people die each year in America due to unintended falls.
Alabama premises liability laws indicate that property owners may be held liable when an injury was caused by unsafe conditions that they knew about or should have known about. "Property owner" may be defined as anyone from an individual homeowner to a corporation or business.
All property owners need to be mindful of potential hazards particularly as they relate to potential slips, trips and falls. Often, this involves adequately warning guests when there is a potential hazard and/or taking steps to eliminate that hazard. When they fail to do this, they should be held accountable.
While the causes of slip-and-fall accidents widely vary, some of the more common forms include:
- Uneven walking surfaces. This could be broken stairways or uneven pavement, holes, lose tiles, loose rugs or defective carpet.
- Poor lighting. If you can't see well enough where you are going, it's inevitably going to affect your ability to walk safely.
- Wet floors. This is common especially in the summer rainy season, when you've got rain water being trudged in from umbrellas or boots or clothing. It's also a problem with liquids like oil, grease and cleaning products.
- Defective handrails or safeguards. This is especially problematic in the construction field when workers aren't adequately protected due to a defective or non-existent scaffold.
In order to prove a premise liability case, your attorney will have to show that the property owner caused the unsafe condition, knew or should have known about the problem and failed to take steps to correct it in a timely fashion once it was discovered.
The workplace in among the most dangerous for those in Alabama in terms of falls. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in Alabama, falls account for nearly 15 percent of work-related fatalities annually.
Of those, the vast majority were wage and salaried men. Forty percent were between the ages of 25 and 44 and the other 60 percent were between the ages of 45 and 64. The two most common types of falls were falls from a roof and falls from a ladder.
Some things to keep in mind about ladder safety (and this relates to both home and work):
- Pick the correct ladder for the job, and make sure you've been trained on how to properly use it;
- Spot check the work area for potential hazards, such as objects in the hallway or stray cords;
- Don't stand any higher than the third rung from the top;
- If the weather is windy or rainy or otherwise inclement, don't use the ladder outdoors. Get off immediately if the weather changes while you are out there;
- Always keep at least three points of contact on the ladder, such as two feet and one hand.