Recently, on the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) website, a case study of a young woman was published, outlining the outcome of her life after two accidental falls.
Alison Hockaday, the woman in question, at one point slipped over on some leaves and thought nothing of it, then a few years later she slipped over on a wet floor. At no point did she ever think she could possibly lose a leg due to what appeared to be two unrelated, but insignificant falls. The second accident was on a mat on a wet floor and caused her to break an ankle and contort it badly. The ankle was placed in plaster for what should have been six weeks, but the plaster was removed after only three, as the contortion in the foot still remained.
Over the years that followed, she undertook more than thirty operations in an attempt to save the foot. This did not happen and an amputation was the only alternative. She was told that she had developed a condition called dystonia as a result of the accident.
Finally, her complete leg had to be amputated. This was a devastating blow to a woman who later found out that the slip and fall hazard that had caused her accident was rectified almost immediately and the mat and its surrounding area were replaced by non slip flooring.
Alison was no couch potato before these accidents took place and enjoyed active pursuits such as jogging, dancing and aerobics but now she has to spend much of her life in a wheelchair. She was compensated for these life changing injuries but, as she says, no amount of compensation could ever repay her for the loss in her quality of life and all because a potential slip and fall hazard was overlooked in a workplace.
Trips and slips are responsible for around 30 percent of major injuries each year in Britain and the outcome of these accidents, with some foresight, could have been prevented.
The seriousness of the plight of a person injured in a slip and fall incident is rarely highlighted by the media, so no one really knows how many people are living a reduced quality of life due to an avoidable slip, trip and fall hazard in their workplace.