The sources of information about deaths and injuries from falls are reviewed. There are no comprehensive statistics for falls in the United Kingdom, and no information about the numbers of slipping, tripping or other first events causing injury. An accident model (MAIM) has been applied to collect accident data. First events involving underfoot surfaces were found to predominate, for example, slipping, tripping, twisting of the foot or ankle, etc. Slipping was the most numerous first event; it is prone to injure the lumber spine, cause fractures and lead to more disability than other first events. Application of MAIM to accident information reveals the contribution of human body movements. Three separate studies have shown that stepping down is significantly more likely to contribute to an accident than stepping up. In future, causes of falls should be recorded to provide information for accident prevention.
Copyright (C) 1988, Society of Occupational Medicine
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