Beware of Floor Surface Hazards Inside and Outside of the Hospital

Loss Amount: $41,000

Situation: A man and his wife were bringing their dog to the veterinarian. As they walked along the sidewalk toward the front entrance of the hospital, the man tripped and fell forward onto the concrete. The fall was serious, resulted in several fractured ribs, a laceration to the man’s face, and a mild concussion. He was immediately taken to the hospital and treated for his injuries, and his recovery lasted several months.

The cause of the fall was a rise in the concrete sidewalk less than an inch high where it was divided by a row of decorative bricks. This difference in height was easily enough to catch the man’s shoe. His ability to see the ground ahead may also have been obscured by his leashed dog.

Although the accident occurred outside the practice, the sidewalk was part of the property, which was also owned and managed by the owner of the hospital.

Lesson Learned: Trip and fall exposures can be equally hazardous for the young and old, customers and employees alike. Uneven floor surface hazards such as this case can be especially dangerous in and around veterinary hospitals because people may be distracted by their animals or have their view obstructed by them. Therefore it is important to be vigilant about identifying and addressing such hazards.

  • Inspect inside and outside the hospital on a routine basis to identify potential trip and fall hazards, as conditions change over time.
  • Reduce or eliminate uneven floor surface hazards whenever possible.
  • Relocate potential trip and fall hazards, such as floor scales or electrical cords, away from high traffic areas.
    Use visual warning indicators such as yellow painted edges, caution tape, or conspicuous signage to draw attention to possible hazards.
  • In addition to reducing the possibility of accidents, preventative actions can also help limit associated liability involving allegations of improper maintenance.

For further assistance in preventing all types of losses, call VISC at 888.762.3143.