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Don’t Get Tripped Up with Trip Hazards


By Brian Adams, PCM Concrete Division Manager | April 10, 2017

Concrete Trip Hazard

In today’s litigious society it is important to understand what may legally constitute a ‘trip hazard’ at your property.

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) defines a ‘trip hazard’ as any vertical change of ¼” or more at a joint or crack in walkway surface.

This winter’s severe weather and “freeze & thaw” impact has resulted in extensive damage across many properties in the DMV Region. The trouble spots that we are seeing most often are sidewalk and curb damage, as well as displaced pavers on walk ways.

These trip and fall hazards are important to address as they expose property owners and managers to potentially expensive litigation, and consumer, patrons, and customers to injury risk.

Slips, Trips, and Falls Statistics:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, slips, trips and falls are responsible for the majority of general industry accidents and a leading cause of workers’ compensation claims.

  • Slips, trips & falls make up majority of general industry accidents (USDoL)
    • 15% of all accidental deaths; 2nd leading cause behind motor vehicles
      • ~12,000/year
    • One of most frequently-reported injuries
      • ~25% of reported claims/year
    • Over 17% of all disabling occupational injuries result from falls
  • Most could have been prevented

What to Look out For:

  • Sidewalks that have shifted, lifted and/or spalled due to frost heave and thermal movement
  • Snowplow damage to concrete and curbing
  • Deteriorated concrete and exposed rebar from excessive use of salts and deicing chemicals
  • Failed expansion and control joints due to the extreme contraction of the building façade’s substrate resulting from extremely cold temperatures

Avoid Those Trip-and-Fall Lawsuits!

You can avoid these potentially expensive legal costs by taking a quick site tour of your property.

  • Inspect your sidewalks.
  • Examine stairs and landings for broken concrete, uneven treads or risers/steps.
  • Check transition areas where dissimilar materials meet.
  • Ensure that stairs are properly pitched to redirect water.

If you have any of these issues on your property, please contact PCM Services to help.

Allowing the condition of your concrete to deteriorate more may increases the severity of your trip hazards, increases your liability risk, and add to the costs to fix it.

Let us help you provide a safer environment for tenants and visitors. Call us today at 301-595-3700 or email us at services@pcmservices.com to learn more.