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A fall is defined as an event which results in a person coming to rest inadvertently on the ground or floor or other lower level. Fall-related injuries may be fatal or non-fatal though most are non-fatal.

Accidental falling is the second leading cause of accidental death worldwide and is a major cause of personal injury, especially for the elderly. Builders, electricians, miners, and painters are occupations with high rates of fall injuries. In 2013 unintentional falls resulted in 556,000 deaths up from 341,000 deaths in 1990.

Falls from buildings are often accidental but can also be caused intentionally, such as by defenestration. Injuries caused by falls from buildings vary depending on the building's height and the age of the person. Falls from the second floor (American; first floor European) usually cause injuries, but are not fatal.

Key facts

  • Falls are the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths worldwide.
  • Each year an estimated 646 000 individuals die from falls globally of which over 80% are in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Adults older than 65 years of age suffer the greatest number of fatal falls.
  • 37.3 million falls that are severe enough to require medical attention occur each year.
  • Prevention strategies should emphasize education, training, creating safer environments, prioritizing fall-related research and establishing effective policies to reduce risk.

Risk factors include:

  • While all people who fall are at risk of injury, the age, gender and health of the individual can affect the type and severity of injury.
  • Other risk factors:
    • Occupations at elevated heights or other hazardous working conditions;
    • Alcohol or substance use;
    • Socioeconomic factors including poverty, overcrowded housing, sole parenthood, young maternal age;
    • Underlying medical conditions, such as neurological, cardiac or other disabling conditions;
    • Side effects of medication, physical inactivity and loss of balance, particularly among older people;
    • Poor mobility, cognition, and vision, particularly among those living in an institution, such as a nursing home or chronic care facility;
    • Unsafe environments, particularly for those with poor balance and limited vision.

Famous People Who Fell to Their Death:

Ranker - Famous people who died of an accidental fall (61 listed)



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