4 Tips to Prevent Injuries During a Slip and Fall
There are countless steps that property owners can take to prevent slip and fall injuries. From quickly and efficiently cleaning up spills and foreign substances to deicing walkways and other paved areas, efforts in fall prevention can go a long way towards keeping building occupants and visitors safe.
However, if you’re ever involved in a slip and fall accident, there are still a few things that you can do to protect yourself. With the right evasive movements and post-fall decisions, you can minimize your likelihood of sustaining serious and potentially life-altering damages.
1. Keep Your Legs and Arms Loose and Slightly Bent
Like most people, your first instinct when falling is probably to catch yourself by extending your arms and using your palms to break your fall. This stiff, rigid position causes your wrists and arms to absorb the full force of your movement and could result in serious breaks or sprains.
It is far better to keep your arms and legs loose and slightly bent instead. Breathe while falling and try to relax into your body. Surprisingly, this will limit the effects of your impact and ensure that no single structure is having to bear all of your weight or absorb all of the fall’s force.
2. Tuck Your Chin and Protect Your Head
Few injuries are as life-altering as spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries. As such, your head and your spine are two of the most important things to protect during a fall. Tuck your chin and use your arms to shield your head. This way, your arms will absorb the impact rather than your skull. If you’re falling from a great height and happen to be traveling face first, turn your head and cross your arms over your face.
3. Roll Out of Your Fall When Possible
Depending on the height and direction of your fall, you may be able to avoid serious injuries altogether by rolling out of it. This prevents a major impact by allowing you to naturally continue your momentum. If you fall forward with your chin tucked and your head protected, you may be able to complete a natural forward roll movement that lands you in a squatting or standing position.
4. Don’t Walk Away
Slip and fall accidents are embarrassing. As such, most people try to spring up from these events, dust themselves off, and leave the scene as quickly as possible. Sadly, this remains the case even when fall victims have sustained serious injuries. Not only does embarrassment drive people to take fast action post-falls, but their bodies are often coursing with adrenaline.
Try to remain still after falling. Take a few minutes to orient yourself while avoiding any swift, sudden movements. Moving too soon can:
- Worsen spinal cord injuries
- Result in a second fall due to dizziness
- Exacerbate injuries involving joints, tendons, muscles, and other musculoskeletal structures
Remember, when flooded with adrenaline, it’s possible for people to continue moving even though they’ve been seriously harmed. This is part of the body’s natural fight-or-flight response. However, although the movement is still possible, the wrong actions can cause additional harm.
If your fall was an especially long or hard one, it may be best to stay right where you are until emergency medical responders arrive. Seeking medical treatment right away will help you document your injuries, and will bolster any slip and fall injury claim that you choose to file.
Whether slipping on excessively slick flooring or on liquids, oils, or a foreign substance, falling can lead to jarring, impact injuries that affect your mobility and your comfort levels in a long-term way. With the right evasive actions, you can limit both the force of your impact and the effects that it has on your body. Laying still after a fall and getting prompt medical treatment will ensure that you don’t intensify or exacerbate any injuries you’ve sustained.