October is the time of year that usually brings wind and slightly chillier weather, as well as the beautiful changing colors of the leaves. Although the scenery the fall weather brings can be a beautiful sight, slippery leaves are a major slip and fall hazard. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, nearly one million people go to the hospital with injuries caused by slip and fall incidents each year in the U.S. Anyone, no matter what age you are can be at risk of a possible slip and fall due to wet, slippery leaves.
How can leaves cause a slip and fall accident?
When most people think of slip and fall accidents, they usually think of spills on a supermarket floor or ice on a sidewalk or driveway. As the leaves begin to fall, they too can also become a serious slip and fall hazard, especially when they are falling by the thousands. Wet leaves can become just as hazardous as ice especially when accumulated in these specific places:
- Parking lots
- Outdoor recreation areas
Along with these common outside areas, leaves can also become indoor hazards. When people open doors, leaves can blow inside of buildings. Those leaves mixed with other debris, mud and slush can present significant hazards to anyone walking inside.
Preventing a slip and fall accident
Many slip and fall accidents caused by leaves can be prevented. It is up to property owners to properly clean up known hazards. Property owners should recognize the dangers presented by fallen leaves and make sure of the following:
- Keep sidewalk and pedestrian walkways clear
- Get leaves out of parking lots
- Ensure that any leaves that get inside the building are cleaned as soon as possible
- Place warning and ‘wet floor’ signs out so pedestrians are aware of possible danger
If you slip and fall on wet leaves, make note of everything you remember about the accident and scene. If possible, take pictures of the scene (the location and condition of the leaves). Make sure to take down the names and contact information of the owner of the property and any witnesses that saw what happened.