Avoiding Slips, Trips, and Falls in Winter Weather
Although we have experienced a mild winter thus far in the northeast, winter weather will come and with the icy and snowy conditions, the incidence of injuries due to slips and falls increases. Suggestions to reduce the chances for slips, trips and falls and associated injuries are as follows:
1) Footwear – Wear appropriate footwear, slip resistant shoes/boots that have tread, textured grip on soles that increase traction with snow and ice.
2) Avoid slippery surfaces - Recognize that like tires on a vehicle, most all footwear will not prevent slips on icy surfaces. Wherever possible, bypass obvious slippery hazards such as ice.
3) Concentrate on the path ahead – Take your time, take small steps and look for changes in walking surfaces as many falls are caused where surface conditions change, uneven surfaces, patches of ice.
4) Balance – When walking, keep your hands out of pockets so that if you do slip, you can try and regain your balance with your arms. Try to keep your center of gravity over your front leg as you walk. Use handrails wherever possible.
5) Lighting - Since it gets dark early, try and follow lighted pathways wherever possible.
6) Entering /Exiting vehicles - keep at least one hand on the vehicle grab bar or door handle so you can catch yourself if you start to slip.
7) Look for water - Tracked in snow melts in high traffic areas such as entry foyers, halls and stairs that soften cause slips and falls. Knock caked on snow/ice from footwear at entry mats where present.
8) Workplace Safety Program – Suggest that your company institute a comprehensive winter safety program to incorporate elements that are specific to your facilities.
9) If you slip - Initially try to regain balance, but relax if you fall and possibly prevent a twisting/bending injury. Try not to break your fall with your hands as this may break your wrist or elbow.