Why So Many People Slip and Fall

Falls are the second leading cause of accidental death and disability, after auto accidents. They are the leading cause of accidents in hotels, restaurants, and public buildings and the leading cause of death in the workplace. In 2013, about 2.5 million non-fatal falls were treated in ER’s with 734,000 victims admitted to the hospital. 25,500 older adults died from unintentional falls in 2013.

Slippery Surfaces

Slippery surfaces both indoors and outdoors are the most common cause of slip and fall. These include:

  • Liquids that are spilled and are not cleaned up in a timely fashion
  • Cleaning residues
  • Dry or dusty contamination that is slippery
  • Slick flooring materials
  • Snow and ice that is not properly removed
  • Wet decks, sidewalks, and stairs
  • Leaky refrigeration and air conditioning units
  • Slick mold overgrowth
  • Lack of warning signs for wet floors during cleaning

Stairs, Flooring Materials, and Walkways

Problems with walking surfaces that often cause falls include:

  • Damaged flooring materials
  • Carpets and rugs that are unsecured
  • Uneven stairs
  • Unmarked step-up or step-down
  • Uneven walkway
  • Damaged or cracked sidewalk
  • Potholes and other damage in parking lots

Tripping Hazards and Obstacles

Falls can be caused by tripping hazards such as:

  • Debris and messes
  • Open drawers and cabinets
  • Cords and cables in walkway
  • Boxes and merchandise in aisles, waiting to be stocked
  • Baby gates in inappropriate places


Inadequate lighting can lead to slip and fall anywhere, but especially in locations such as:

  • Stairwells
  • Hallways
  • Sidewalks and other outdoor walkways
  • Parking garages
  • Areas with ramps, step-ups, and other uneven walking surfaces
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