Research study aims to help prevent slip and fall accidents

Slip and fall accidents are common throughout . Michigan slip and fall accidents accounted for approximately 44 percent of fatal and non fatal-work related falls according to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These preventable accidents are also frequently caused when a negligent property owner fails to address known dangers on a property, such as icy sidewalks.

New research from Clemson University indicates that the slow shuffle that many of us use to walk across slick surfaces may make a fall even more likely. Biomechanics researchers recently released a report which concludes that quick movements in a firm-footed stance are less likely to lead to a fall on a slippery surface than slow movements.

The researchers conducted the study by observing the walking habits of helmeted guinea fowl, which react to slips in a way that is similar to humans. The researchers constructed a six meter runway and observed helmeted guinea fowl walking across sandpaper and slippery surfaces.

A conclusion from the study is that slow movements on slippery surfaces make slipping more likely because slow movements hinder the important shift of the center of body mass forward once foot contact is made. Researchers also noted that guinea fowl and humans both need slip just under four inches to fall.

“The findings can be useful in helping humans, especially older ones, make their way across surfaces that are wet, icy or oily,” said one of the researchers. “The key to avoiding slips seems to be speed and keeping the body mass forward, slightly ahead of the ankles after the foot contacts the ground.”



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