AN elderly 82-year-old UK-based woman is recovering at Westend Clinic in Harare after she slipped and fell at a popular food chain takeaway in Chivhu as she was leaving the washroom sometime last week.
The floor was apparently wet when the woman suddenly flung to the ground, fracturing her right leg just below the knee.
She had to abandon her trip to Buhera where she was heading for the funeral of her nephew who died a few days after she arrived from England where she lives with her children.
She was ferried to the hospital in an ambulance while other mourners proceeded to Mudzamiri Homestead to bury their loved one.
If you own a restaurant, retail store, supermarket or any business that caters to the public, you certainly are aware of the possibility of a slip-and-fall accident.
You are perhaps also probably aware of your liability.
And surprisingly, that responsibility covers a lot of ground. Not only must you provide proper maintenance of slipping situations, but you must also be sure your employees know how to react to accidents that might happen.
I doubt if such business premises do have first aid training or general know-how when faced with such situations.
I have personally never liked porcelain tiles for flooring after witnessing several incidents where people slipped in banks and bathrooms in and around the city.
Slip-and-fall accidents are no doubt among the most common injuries that can lead to fractured bones, brain injuries and even fatalities, said a doctor who refused to be named.
In many cases, they can also lead to lawsuits, especially if customers are the ones injured. During the rainy season, slip-and-fall accidents are especially common because of the general wet conditions where business owners have to constantly wipe the floors and perhaps lay rubber mats.
The particular incident I have cited above involves a reputable chain food outlet which constantly cleans its floors especially in Harare, but it was shocking, according to this 82-year-old woman, to find that water was left on the floor fully knowing how dangerous that can be especially to clients or customers that jostle every minute to buy the various foodstuffs on sale.
It is a very busy food outlet, which needs to have an alert management that looks out for such hazards.
This is an incident which could have been avoided, hence this is a clear case of negligence which the business should be held accountable for.
Ceramic tiles come in many colours and patterns, making them versatile and beautiful covering for floors, counter tops or bathroom applications.
This type of tile is easy to maintain and, with many brands to choose from, can be a cost-effective way to update your home or business.
Despite these benefits, the ceramic tile has potential drawbacks and dangers to consider before deciding if it is the right material for your home or business project.
Ceramic tiles are glazed, which create a glossy surface to the finished tile. Although pretty, the glaze may become extremely slippery when wet. Because the surfaces of ceramic tiles are shiny, it may be hard to tell when they are wet.
If using this type of tile for flooring in areas of your home or business where water spills are likely, such as the kitchen or bathroom, it is necessary to place rugs or non-slip mats in high-traffic areas, such as near the sink or bath tub.
Allow plenty of time for your ceramic tile floors to dry, or towel dry them after cleaning, before walking on them to help prevent falls.
I once visited a relative in the northern suburbs where I spent the night sometime last year. The following morning, I took a shower in a tiled floor bathroom where I slipped and fell onto floor and hurt my hip. I lay still as I tried to figure out how to get up. Such falls are a disadvantage for people with fuller and heavier bodies like me as you can slip and fall again as you try to get up.
There were no non-slip rugs or mats to step on after showering and this can be very dangerous.
I am sure if I were to ask the Zimbabwe Republic Police about such incidents I would come up with a yet conclusive article with statistics as I have since realised that all the people I have told about this incident have said that they have heard of someone that was hurt after slipping on these ceramic tiles.
The question is, are these tiles really good or safe after all?
I suggest business owners to look for common problems of slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall accidents. Slippery surfaces, spills, weather problems, loose mats or carpeting, poor visibility, bad lighting, clutter, cables or wires, and uneven floors can all cause such slips.
Or at least put signs warning the public of slippery floors like what a certain supermarket does in Westgate, Harare, when workers are mopping the floors.
For example, you might not be able to correct a leaky pipe that is causing a puddle on the floor right away, but do make sure that there is a visible “caution” sign displaying danger.
A businessperson or home owner should also regularly walk through, looking for potential problem areas. Unless you do this, it is easy to overlook potential dangers.
Ceramic tiles are also prone to cracking or chipping if hit with a heavy object. Chipped tile may cause an injury to bare skin. Cracked tile may leave sharp edges at the gap. Prevent heavy objects from tipping over or falling onto your ceramic tile floors.
I would like to encourage business owners to buy either glitterstone tiles which are actually very artistic and earthy or cement tiles that I saw at a company in the Pomona Quarry area which are ideal for both businesses and homes.
These have a rough finish and only use water to clean.