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Preventing slipping accidents in your workplace

You don't have to be a construction worker to fear falling, especially when the seasons change and summer transitions into fall. As beautiful as a Rhode Island autumn may be, it also brings its share of dangers. Daylight hours are fewer, and walking on any surface may be treacherous.

If you have fallen at work, your first instinct may be to blame your own clumsiness or to point to the weather conditions. Fortunately, workers' compensation is available even if the fall resulted from your own lack of coordination. However, there are steps your employer can take to prevent such accidents.

Autumn safety at work

Your safety should be a top concern for your employer. For this reason, your employer may have periodic safety training reviews, provide appropriate personal protection and insist on the highest standards of care during the work hours. Falling is the most common workplace injury, accounting for about 20 percent of fatal workplace accidents. Even if you do not work in a high-fall-risk industry, the chances of suffering a work-related fall injury always exist.

When the weather turns cooler, you may be at risk of falling simply by walking from your car to the office building. Some common hazards you may experience at this time of year include the following:

  • Wet leaves on sidewalks or paths can quickly become damp and slippery.
  • Clusters of leaves may cover tripping hazards, such as uneven sidewalks or potholes.
  • Ice and snow on parking lots, sidewalks and steps result in countless brain injuries after violent falls.
  • Tracking snow or wet leaves into a building may create slick spots on the floor.

If your employer is also the owner of the building where you work, he or she may make slip-and-fall hazard removal part of scheduled routines throughout the season. If you do fall on a slick surface at work, you should immediately notify your employer and file a claim for workers' compensation. An attorney can assist you at any step in this process.

If your employer does not own the building where you work, there is also the possibility that you have cause for a third-party claim. For example, if the owner of the building failed to clear the wet leaves from the sidewalk or salt the parking lot after an ice storm, the property owner may be responsible for your injuries. An experienced attorney can evaluate your case and provide you with guidance for your best options.

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