Slips And Trips At Seaside Can Lead To Catastrophe
26th August 2013
Fortunately, slips and trips do not lead to serious personal injuries in the majority of cases, but the risks are amplified when these accidents occur around water. A slip, trip or fall into water can lead to drowning, putting people’s lives at risk and occasionally taking them.
In fact, data recently released by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) revealed that on the average year, slips, trips and falls during walks along the coastline or as a result of other general waterside pastimes leads to around 28 coastal deaths, or 19% of the total number of deaths on the UK’s shorelines.
Every year, more than 150 people lose their lives alongside the UK’s coasts – more than the number of people who die in cycling accidents.
While victims or their dependents can claim compensation for a slip, trip or fall that was caused by someone else’s negligence, the money recovered in a personal injury compensation claim will never be enough to recompense someone for their pain and suffering.
The RNLI has launched a new safety campaign entitled ‘Respect the Water’ in order to reduce the number of personal injuries and fatalities that occur at the UK’s coasts. It is particularly targeting its campaign on men aged 25 to 65, as this demographic represents the largest proportion of fatalities.
A number of other coastline hazards are being highlighted by the organisation as well as slips, trips and falls. These include cold water shock, fatigue and rip currents. Alcohol is also a key danger – in 2012, it was a factor in 27 coastal deaths.
Some of the RNLI’s key water safety tips include:
– Avoid the edge of cliffs when at the coast and stick to the marked paths. A slip, trip or fall over a cliff could lead to catastrophe.
– Drink alcohol after swimming rather than beforehand – drinking can lead to drowning.
– Swim parallel to the shore when caught in a rip current until free from the current, and then head towards the shore. Do not swim against the current, as this will lead to fatigue.
– Do not swim in the sea by yourself.
– Swim on lifeguarded beaches and stay between the yellow and red flags. Do not swim further out than you can handle and do not overestimate your swimming abilities.
– Acclimatise to the cold water temperature gradually and in shallow water.
– Wear wetsuits or other thermal clothing when required.
While the seaside is particularly popular in the summer months, visitors must take care of their own safety and ensure they do not slip, trip or fall, or that they do not drown. Even the strongest swimmers can become fatigued in the UK’s cold seawater, but the sea never tires.
In some instances, the local authority or other organisations can be liable in slip or trip compensation claims at the seaside, as it must ensure public areas are safe for people to use and deal with any problems that arise before they lead to injuries. However, members of the public have a duty to protect their own health and safety, and people are therefore strongly advised to take special care when at the seaside.