Fall 2016 | cbservices.org

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Common Autumn Slip, Trip
and Fall Hazards

Cloudy skies, drizzly rain, chillier temperatures and vibrant leaves fluttering to the ground of your school are the perfect recipe for an autumn day, but a day like this can also be fraught with danger.  During the fall time, the incidence of injuries due to slips, trips and falls increase due to environmental and social occurrences. 

Combine this with the fact that the number of daylight hours is shrinking, which makes early mornings and evenings, as well as poorly lit areas, hazardous too.

Slippery and Wet Floors
With autumn in our midst, and the changing of temperatures and weather, often time comes more rain.  If the area your school is located was very dry this summer, it can take some adjusting to suddenly wet weather.  When the fall time rain comes, it leads to wet sidewalks, which leads to wet floors in the entryways, hallways, stairwells and classrooms of your school.  The maintenance staff responsible for your school has a duty to keep the area dry and safe for students and staff walking through, but sometimes these responsibilities can fall through the cracks or become an endless battle.  It is important to stay mindful of wet floors all throughout the autumn months.

Along with the changing weather comes the changing of footwear.  At the beginning of fall, the weather is often still warm, allowing for sandals and flip-flops.  These are not ideal footwear choices for the fall weather when puddles and wet leaves may be on the ground.  Having your faculty, staff and students remember to wear shoes with non-slip soles, is the better option. They will allow for some traction, which can result in less of a chance of falling.

Slippery Leaves
The changing leaves of the fall time are beautiful around your school, but when they fall to the ground and are not property cleaned up, they can become very hazardous. Wet leaves are dangerous and can cause any walking surface to become very slick, very quickly.  Autumn rain can make leaves on the ground wet, heavy and slippery.  Wet leaves can be almost as hazardous as ice, especially if they are on the tile floor of your school‘s entryway.  Again, be sure to always keep the parking lot, sidewalk and school entry clear of wet leaves, so they don’t get tracked in and around your building causing  injury.

If there are too many wet leaves on the sidewalk, try to reroute faculty, staff and students through the grass until the leaves can be cleared.  Even if the grass is wet and did result in a slip, it would result in a softer landing than that of a concrete sidewalk.

Another way to prevent a fall during the fall time is to avoid having larger leaf piles on your grounds.   You never know what could be hidden beneath them, and all it takes is one step through that pile, and your students, faculty and staff could be slipping on an object or tripping over a pothole no one even knew was there. If there is a pile of leaves on your grounds, advise your students, faculty and staff to simply walk around it, even if it may take them longer to do so.

Homecoming and Halloween Decoration Wires
With the onset of fall come two important events for schools – homecoming and Halloween.  Both of these events require decorations to be hung.  Many of these displays come with wires, cords and strings.  Left lying around and not maintained, they can pose a serious tripping hazard, especially if the wires, cords and strings are dark and blend in with the floor.  To minimize the risk of school decorations but still enjoy a fun, colorful atmosphere, follow these tips: 

  • Only use decorations in their intended fashion and read all display instructions before use.
  • Do not block fire alarms, emergency signs or exits with decorations.
  • Confine decorations to suitable spaces such as bulletin boards. Covering windows and ceilings with additional decorations increases the amount of combustible material in the facility and increases fire risks.
  • Never hang decorations from light fixtures, sprinkler heads, vents or radiators.
  • Choose decorations with flame resistant coatings.
  • Fasten flags, posters, papers and other decorations flat to the wall to minimize exposed edges that could cause cuts or increase fire risks.
  • Fasten all items securely for their weight to reduce the risk that they may loosen and fall.
  • When removing decorations, be sure to remove all strings, staples and other materials used to hold the decorations.
  • Store decorations safely .
  • Do not allow students to climb on desks or other unsafe surfaces to help decorate.

Make the fall season a happy and safe one at your school.  By being prepared, having a high level of awareness and keeping these important fall safety tips in mind, you can be sure you are doing everything you can to protect your students, faculty and staff from seasonal dangers. This will leave your mind free to enjoy the beauty of this glorious season.