Cityscape November 2014 : Page 6
Walking with When you think about walking, you probably don’t think DERXW/HRQDUGRGD9LQFL+HLVFUHGLWHGDVWKHÀUVWZKR made quantitative studies on the problem of friction. Fric-tion, or the lack there of, is at the root of most slip and fall injuries. If you go to You Tube and search for “slip and fall,” hundreds of videos come up. Most are there to en-tertain, but to quote the book title from the founder of the National Floor Safety Institute: Falls aren’t funny. This baby-boomer was raised on cartoons where the characters were always getting hurt. Back in the days of Wile E. Coyote vs. the Roadrunner, cartoons contained characters getting creamed, often from a slip, trip and fall (younger readers will have to Google to learn more). The characters all get back up, dust themselves off and come back for more abuse. Not so in real life. When a slip and fall is considered a joke, it reinforces the stereotype that falls are something to laugh about, not take seriously. When someone is injured, it’s really not funny. The Numbers $FFRUGLQJWRWKH/LEHUW\0XWXDO5HVHDUFK,QVWLWXWHIRU6DIHW\�f; 86HPHUJHQF\URRPVWUHDWDERXW�f; VHYHUHIDOO UHODWHGLQMX -ULHVHYHU\GD\7KH%XUHDXRI /DERU6WDWLVWLFV�b;%/6�c;UHSRUWVWKDW VOLSV�f;WULSVDQGIDOOVWRRNWKHOLYHVRI c;c;ZRUNHUVLQ 7KH %/6DOVRUHSRUWVRFFXSDWLRQDOLQMXULHVZHUHXSE\ÀYHSHUFHQW DQGORFDOJRYHUQPHQWKDGKLJKHUIDWDOZRUNHULQMXU\UDWHV�f;XS  SHUFHQWRYHU 6OLSVDQGIDOOVPDNHXSDERXWSHUFHQWRI DOO ZRUNHUV·FRPSHQVDWLRQFODLPVe;KRZHYHU�f;WKH\DFFRXQWIRURYHU SHUFHQWRI WKHFRVWV7KH&HQWHUIRU'LVHDVH&RQWURO�b;&'&�c;QRZ FRQVLGHUVVOLSDQGIDOOLQMXULHVDQGIDWDOLWLHVDVDQDWLRQDOHSLGHPLF The Mechanics 6OLSVRFFXUZKHQWKHUHLVDVXGGHQ�f;XQH[SHFWHGFKDQJHEHWZHHQ DSHUVRQ·VIRRWDQGDZDONLQJVXUIDFH6RPHFRPPRQFDXVHV RI VOLSVLQFOXGHVSLOOV�f;LQFOHPHQWZHDWKHU�b;WKLQNLFHDQGVQRZ�c;�f; LPSURSHUFOHDQLQJWHFKQLTXHVDQGXQVHFXUHGUXJVRUPDWWLQJ$ WULSLVGLIIHUHQWLQWKDWLWLVXVXDOO\FDXVHGE\\RXUIRRWKLWWLQJ DQRWKHUREMHFWFDXVLQJDORVVRI EDODQFHe;IRUH[DPSOH�f;WKLQJVOLNH XQHYHQZDONLQJVXUIDFHV�f;REMHFWVSURWUXGLQJLQWR\RXUSDWKWKDW DUHXQH[SHFWHGDQGDWXUQHG XSGRRUPDW7KHIULFWLRQVWXG\'D 9LQFLVWDUWHGKDVEHFRPHDQH[WHQVLYHERG\RI NQRZOHGJH�f;ZLWK VFLHQWLÀFVWXGLHVPHDVXULQJWKHFRHIÀFLHQWRI IULFWLRQ�b;&2)�c;RI  QXPHURXVW\SHVRI IRRWZHDUZDONLQJRQFRXQWOHVVVXUIDFHV7KH UHVHDUFKKDVFRQWULEXWHGPDQ\ÁRRUVXUIDFHVLPSURYHPHQWV�f;ÁRRU FDUHFKDQJHVDQGIRRWZHDUWUHDGLQQRYDWLRQV ENGINEERS. ARCHITECTS. SURVEYORS. Architecture Civil Construction Services Environmental Land Surveying Municipal Structural Transportation �f; �e;�b; �c;
�a;�d; 6 Cityscape November 2014
Walking With Da Vinci
When you think about walking, you probably don't think about Leonardo da Vinci. He is credited as the first who made quantitative studies on the problem of friction. Friction, or the lack there of, is at the root of most slip and fall injuries. If you go to You Tube and search for "slip and fall," hundreds of videos come up. Most are there to entertain, but to quote the book title from the founder of the National Floor Safety Institute: Falls aren't funny.<br /> <br /> This baby-boomer was raised on cartoons where the characters were always getting hurt. Back in the days of Wile E. Coyote vs. the Roadrunner, cartoons contained characters getting creamed, often from a slip, trip and fall (younger readers will have to Google to learn more). The characters all get back up, dust themselves off and come back for more abuse. Not so in real life. When a slip and fall is considered a joke, it reinforces the stereotype that falls are something to laugh about, not take seriously. When someone is injured, it's really not funny.<br /> <br /> The Numbers <br /> <br /> According to the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, U.S. emergency rooms treat about 25,000 severe fall-related injuries every day. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that slips, trips and falls took the lives of 699 workers in 2013. The BLS also reports occupational injuries were up by five percent and local government had higher fatal worker injury rates, uplO percent over 2012. Slips and falls make up about 15 percent of all workers' compensation claims; however, they account for over 25 percent of the costs. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) now considers slip and fall injuries and fatalities as a national epidemic.<br /> <br /> The Mechanics <br /> <br /> Slips occur when there is a sudden, unexpected change between a person's foot and a walking surface. Some common causes of slips include spills, inclement weather (think ice and snow), improper cleaning techniques and unsecured rugs or matting. A trip is different in that it is usually caused by your foot hitting another object causing a loss of balance; for example, things like uneven walking surfaces, objects protruding into your path that are unexpected and a turned-up doormat. The friction study Da Vinci started has become an extensive body of knowledge, with scientific studies measuring the coefficient of friction (COF) of numerous types of footwear walking on countless surfaces. The research has contributed many floor surfaces improvements, floor care changes and footwear tread innovations.<br /> <br /> Distracted Humans <br /> <br /> We have all heard about distracted driving. Have you ever watched someone walking while on their electronic device? A study from The Ohio State University found that the number of pedestrian ER visits for injuries related to cell phones tripled between 2004 and 2010 - even though the total number of pedestrian injuries dropped during the same period. A University of Buffalo study showed distracted walking results in more injuries per mile than distracted driving. In London, the issue is so common that bumpers were placed onto light posts along a busy pedestrian walk to prevent people from slamming into them.<br /> <br /> Footwear <br /> <br /> Think of the tires on the car you drive. Years ago, it was common in Iowa to have two sets of tires: one set for spring, summer & fall, and a set of snow tires for winter. The same principles apply to your footwear. Snow and ice call for appropriate footwear, especially when you have to navigate an icy parking lot or enter a warm building with moisture on your soles. A leather sole on ice has no traction. When you hit the warm marble or tile floor in the office with snow-covered shoes, you are likely to become one of those statistics we mentioned earlier. For that reason, office workers should be encouraged to change their footwear when their tasks take them outside in the winter.<br /> <br /> What to Do <br /> <br /> To start, we all need to pay attention to what we are doing. Beware of distractions and carrying tilings that keep us from maintaining our balance as we negotiate the icy parking lot or slippery stairs. Put away that cell phone and utilize shoulder bags or carts to keep your hands free and your vision clear so you can see what's ahead.<br /> <br /> Wear proper footwear with good tread to provide traction when the weather is bad to help keep your footing firm. Workers whose primary function involves outdoor work have a good idea of what proper footwear is; however, it is always a good idea to remind everyone when winter is around the corner. Just like your tires, the tread on your shoes wear out. As the weather changes, check to see that your footwear is up to the task.<br /> <br /> Yak Trax are a brand of ice walker that slips over your shoes to provide extra traction on ice and snow. There are many other similar products, including some with aluminum oxide imbedded in the sole that provide sandpaper like grip when worn over your shoes. Consider investing in a pair for use when the weather warrants.<br /> <br /> Last but not least, take your time. Similar to winter driving, allow for a little extra time to walk once there is snow and ice on the ground. Slow down, take shorter steps, and keep on the designated walkways. One last tip: carry a small bag of grit, like sand or non-clumping cat litter, in your jacket pocket to sprinkle when you are confronted with an icy spot on your trek. Da Vinci would smile like Mona Lisa if he saw that!<br /> <br /> Ron Sinnwell is Iowa Municipalities Workers' Compensation Association loss control coordinator and may be reached at email@example.com. <br /> <br /> For more information about winter safety contact the Iowa Municipalities Workers' Compensation Association at (800) 257-2708 or online at www.imwca.org.
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