by Sean Griffin, October 13, 2009
Accidents occur wherever we go. We are human and mistakes happen but to limit dangers and hazards we need to pay attention to detail and do our part to prevent injuries. A swimming pool in the backyard is a place of relaxation and recreation but also has the ingredients to become a safety hazard.
Unforgiving concrete decks combined with water can create a danger. Address any low spots in surrounding deck to avoid water from pooling. Certain algae can bloom on the surface of the decking and become a make shift “slip-n-slide”.
In addition to slipping on wet surfaces there are also dangers involved with tripping. Make sure there are no trip hazards around the pool, the only thing worse than tripping is stubbing a toe…OUCH! Customers who own a safety cover secured by anchors that have been drilled into the deck should make sure that when removing cover to recess anchors into the deck completely making them flush. When the ground shifts it can also make the decking unlevel and account for a trip hazard. Decking can be removed and re-leveled and anchors can be replaced. Extra caution is needed when your pool is emptied or under construction. Always make sure self-latching gates are functioning to avoid unwanted visitors.
Preventing Slip-and-Fall Injuries:
Common methods for preventing backyard pool injuries include:
-Ensuring walkways and pedestrian areas are free from obstacles and tripping-hazards
-Making sure that pool-side walkways have adequate traction and non-slip surface covering
-Place handrails in dangerous areas
-Consider fencing or other protective barriers to prevent accidental falls into the pool
-Place warning signs reminding pedestrians of potential hazards
-Do not allow people to run or play on slippery surfaces
Here are some stats concerning pool related slip and falls:
A "slip and fall" or "trip and fall" is the generic term for an injury which occurs when someone slips, trips or falls as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else's property. It includes falls as a result of water, ice or snow, as well as abrupt changes in flooring, poor lighting, or a hidden hazard, such as a gap or hard to see hole in the ground. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control estimates that in 2004, more than 8 million people were injured in falls.
Fall related injuries are of large concern, mostly to older individuals. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2005, 15,800 people age 65 and older died from fall-related injuries, 1.8 million age 65 and older were treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries, and over 433,000 of these people were hospitalized.
If you are on someone else's property and injure yourself as a result of a dangerous condition on the property, the landowner or business proprietor may be liable for your injuries. If you are a property owner and someone injures himself on your land, you may find yourself legally responsible for his or her injuries. So, take a "Slip & Fall" assessment of your entire facility or property, and work to remove trip and slip hazards.