Preventing Slips and Falls at Schools

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A dangerous slip and fall accident can happen almost anywhere, including at a school in South Florida. Slips and falls can cause serious injuries to students, as well as to teachers and other employees at the school. Generally speaking, school administrators and employees have a duty to be aware of slip, trip, and fall risks and to take preventive measures. What are some of the particular slip and fall risks affecting certain employees? And what can be done to prevent students from getting hurt in a slip, trip, or fall accident?

We have collected information from a fact sheet from Self Insured Schools and a fact sheet from the University of St. Andrews to provide more information about slip and fall prevention in school settings.

Preventing Students from Suffering Slip and Fall Injuries 

What can administrators, teachers, and other employees do to prevent students from getting hurt in a slip and fall accident at school?

  • Always be on the lookout for possible slip, trip and fall hazards in different areas of the school, such as spills in the cafeteria, objects in a commonly used student walkway, a broken handrail on school stairs, or a torn piece of carpeting in a school hallway;
  • Report any possible hazards to the appropriate individual, who may be a school administrator or a custodian;
  • If it is your job to handle spill cleanup or to manage other potentially hazardous conditions, either correct the harmful condition as soon as you learn about it or use a warning sign to alert students to the hazard; and
  • Administrators should implement training procedures so that teachers and other staff members know how to identify slip and fall risks as well as how to report them.

Employee Slips and Falls at Schools: Prevention Tips 

What if you are employed by a school as an administrator, teacher, custodian, food-service worker, or other employee? Many jobs at schools can come with slip and fall risks, and the following are some preventive safety tips:

  • Teachers should always use a stepladder (and not a chair) to reach parts of the classroom that may otherwise be out of reach;
  • Wear slip-resistant footwear to account for slick areas of walkways;
  • Be aware of any warning or caution signs about recent floor cleanings or floor maintenance;
  • Food-service workers should immediately clean up any spills in the cooking or eating areas of the cafeteria;
  • Floor mats should be used in dishwashing areas;
  • Custodians should use particular caution when cleaning or waxing school floors;
  • Custodians should regularly assess walking surfaces to ensure that they are safe, and if any hazards are identified, a work order should be entered as soon as possible;
  • Maintenance and custodial staff should repair any damage to handrails, stair treads, cracked floors, or torn carpet as soon as possible;
  • Maintenance and custodial staff should always use the right ladder for a job;
  • Maintenance workers should inspect the exterior areas of the school and replace any broken or burned-out light bulbs; and
  • Bus drivers should ensure that the bus handrail and stairs are in good

Contact a West Palm Beach Premises Liability Lawyer 

If you were injured in a slip and fall accident at a South Florida school—either as a student or as an employee—you should speak with a West Palm Beach premises liability lawyer about your case. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC today for more information.

Resources:

sisc.kern.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2012/10/SlipsTripsFalls-SchoolSafety.pdf

st-andrews.ac.uk/media/environmental-health-and-safety-services/health-and-safety/slips-trips-falls/edis2.pdf

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