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A systems perspective of slip and fall accidents on icy and snowy surfaces

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Current research on slips and falls has mainly focused on floors and/or contaminated floors. Although icy and snowy surfaces near melting temperature are more slippery, more important still, slip and falls on icy and snowy surfaces involve not only outdoor workers, but also pedestrians and the general public; and occur in cold regions and in the winter season in many parts of the world. However, in comparison with the size of the problem, research work done so far in this area has been limited. The objective of this paper is to present a systems perspective of slip and fall accidents, with special focus on its occurrence on icy and snowy surfaces. In order to explore the aetiology of slip and fall accidents further, and to provide the basis for prevention, the authors put forward a systems model towards the slips and falls on icy and snowy surfaces based on a review of literature and current knowledge. Various contributing factors are systematically discussed to highlight the multi-factorial nature of the problem, providing the possibility of a multi-faceted approach to reach systematic prevention. Unresolved issues related to slips and falls on ice and snow are also identified, which necessitate further research.
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Keywords: Environment; Footwear; Gait biomechanics; Icy and snowy surfaces; Prevention; Psychophysiological factors; Slip and fall; Systems approach

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 15, 2004

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