Common Injuries in Public Places

Despite businesses bearing the responsibility of ensuring that their patrons are kept safe from harm while on their premises, sometimes accidents resulting in injuries do occur. Injuries that take place in public are often referred to as ‘slip and trip’ or ‘slip and fall’ accidents, as slips, trips and falls are the most common types of accidents that happen in public spaces.

However, it isn’t just shopping centres and supermarkets where these types of accidents happen, they also regularly take place in:

  • areas where the pavement or other facilities have fallen into disrepair;
  • schoolyards;
  • sporting grounds; and

So, what are some of the most frequently sustained injuries that occur in these types of public areas?

Back Injuries

Back injuries can be the result of slips, trips or other falls related to uneven or slippery ground, surfaces, or pathways or from sitting on faulty or damaged furniture or other platforms. A back injury includes anything from a sprain or strain, a herniated disc (often called a ‘slipped disc’) and in severe cases can require surgery.

Neck Injuries

Neck injuries include whiplash, fractures, nerve pinch and sprains and strains. 

A neck injury can be caused through similar actions to those that result in a back injury and just like a back injury, a neck injury can be debilitating and require significant time off work or the assistance of a carer to perform everyday tasks.

Brain injuries and bleeds

A brain injury is incredibly serious, particularly if it results in a bleed on the brain.

Accidents that occur in a public place and cause brain injury, such as slipping and hitting your head as you fall, would usually be referred to as ‘traumatic brain injury’. These types of injuries differ from other types of brain injury that may be the result of a stroke, tumour or neurological disease.

Brain injuries almost always require at least some time off work, and at their most severe may require surgery and rehabilitation.

Fractures and dislocations

Fractures occur when a bone is broken, whereas dislocations are the result of the joint being dislodged. It is possible, although rare, to experience both at the same time and treatment may include surgery in severe cases.

Accidents in public places that may cause fractures or dislocations include slips, trips and falls and these types of accidents most commonly affect older people. 


Burns are not just caused by heat or fire. They can also be the result of a chemical spill or mismanaged chemicals, friction, extreme cold or electrocution due to poor or exposed wiring.

Burns are categorised from first to fourth degree, depending on their severity. First degree burns are what you might experience when you put your hand underwater that is too hot, and generally wouldn’t require medical attention. Second and third-degree burns affect multiple layers of skin, with third-degree burns sometimes requiring surgery. Fourth-degree burns are extremely severe and can affect the bones, nerve endings and muscles and sometimes cause fatalities.

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