Janet Kupperman, FACSM, Rachel Mead, Shelby McNealy. Rockhurst University. Kansas City, Missouri

Workplace falls result in significant medical and legal costs. Regardless of financial concern, Rockhurst’s established value of “CuraPersonalis,” care of the whole person, places high priority on the welfare of Rockhurst’s campus members. PURPOSE: The current investigation was undertaken to examine fall risk factors, the pattern of Rockhurst falls, and general and Rockhurst fall prevention strategies and to implement a fall prevention program consistent with findings. METHODS: A campus-wide safety audit was performed using a previously published checklist. The most common issue was electrical cords on floors that could pose a tripping hazard. Fall prevention initiatives on the Rockhurst campus mainly related to communication. Information about falls reported to Campus Security from September 2014 to July 2015 was categorized based on location and individuals involved. While the number and severity of reported falls did indicate that an exercise-based intervention program was warranted, an informational campaign was considered useful. Investigators staffed a table with brochures, a computer displaying an educational video, and a poster during the initial part of the all-employee university opening workshop. They engaged interested individuals in conversation about fall prevention and offered to provide tripping hazard signage. Copies of three different brochures were distributed and displayed in eight offices on campus, and the tripping hazard signs were made available. RESULTS: Few individuals took initiative to view materials at the opening workshop. Those who approached investigators engaged them in conversation about falls, often describing unreported falls. Investigators distributed brochures to each individual on entering the meeting room. With respect to brochures distributed to campus offices, after ten days, no brochures remained at four locations, and seven to nine brochures remained at four other locations. Repeating the audit at that time revealed many but not all of the same tripping hazards. CONCLUSION: The level of concern displayed by the administrator who initiated interest in the project was inconsistent with the data on reported falls. Since anecdotal evidence suggested that fall underreporting, especially falls that did not result in major injuries, may be prevalent, ongoing informational efforts may be both helpful and aligned with Rockhurst values.

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