Winter months present additional hazards that employees like you typically don’t encounter during warmer weather. Specifically, amid snowy and icy conditions, you may run the risk of experiencing major slips or falls, which could lead to serious injuries.
Consider the following recommendations to prevent slip and fall injuries this winter:
- Wear the proper footwear that provides traction on snow and ice. Footwear should be made of anti-slip material; avoid plastic and leather-soled shoes or boots.
- Exercise caution when entering and exiting vehicles, and use the vehicle for balance and support.
- Try to walk only in designated areas that are safe for foot traffic. If you notice a walkway is covered in ice, walk on the grass next to the sidewalk, which will have more traction.
- Avoid inclines that are typically difficult to walk up or down, as they may be more treacherous in winter conditions.
- Take small steps to maintain your center of balance, and walk slowly—never run. Despite the cold temperatures, avoid putting your hands in your pockets. This will help you maintain your balance and allow you to break a fall should you slip.
- Use handrails, walls or anything stationary to assist in steadying your feet.
- Look ahead to the path in front of you to avoid hazards.
- Test a potentially slippery area before stepping on it by tapping your foot on the surface first.
- Steer clear of roof edges, floor openings and other drop-offs to avoid slipping hazards.
- Dry your shoes or boots on floor mats when entering a building.
- Report trip and fall hazards immediately to your supervisor.
If you feel yourself beginning to slip or fall on a snowy or icy surface:
- Twist your body and roll backward to avoid falling forward and injuring your face.
- Try to relax your body when you start to feel your legs give way.
- Throw anything you are carrying off to the side so it does not land on you when you fall. This will also free your arms to help break your fall.