Slip Sliding Away: Improving Your Step
Recently, I received a phone call from a business-owner friend notifying me that his wife was in the hospital due to a fall. I learned she was going into surgery later in the day to repair damage to both her wrist and knee. Two surgeries at the same time!
Take the aforementioned incident, multiply it by tens of thousands and you get an alarming stat from the Bureau of Labor: an estimated $13 million is spent per year on injuries from falls. Second to motor accidents – trips, slips and falls account for 15% of all accidental deaths in the USA.
It’s my experience in working with churches that the majority of medical claims come from falls. I can attest myself, as I live with a scar on my hand caused by participating in a church-related activity.
What accounts for such alarming figures and what can be done about it? Consider the following points that may contribute to these high statistics:
- An aging employee and member population
- More activities and creative high risk functions
- Neglected parking lot repairs
- Undetected black ice on walk ways
- Wet and slippery floors
- Unrepaired, ripped carpentry
- Un-noticed grease splattering in food courts
- Loose railings
- Poorly lit walkways
- Uneven flooring
The average amount of ministries within a church ranges from 25 to 100. Take that number, multiply it by 10, and you have 250 to 1,000 activities. That’s a lot of potential opportunities for hazardous falls. Churches today are more creative in their activities which increase the risk.
Evaluate your population, re-assign individuals to activities that are more conducive to their abilities, create a team to survey the church property for potential hazards and maintain a consistent maintenance program to repair any areas needing correction. Evaluation, identification, notification and correction will reduce injuries. It’s much better to see the stats from these injures, rather than fall yourself.