Walking during winter months, in much of the US and Canada, can be quite challenging. The elements make walking very hazardous and failure to take appropriate precautions often result in an injury from a slip and fall. For many we are fortunate and only our ego is hurt from the embarassment of being observed falling to the ground, for others it results in severe injury. Imagine falling to the ground and your head hitting the hard surface, these types of injuries have resulted in individual’s being permanently disabled.
How can you reduce the chance of slipping and falling during winter conditions?
1. Take small steps when slick conditions are present (wet, oily, snow). Shortening your stride reduces the forward force which is often the cause of a slip.
2. Use the ‘granny shuffle’ in extremely slick conditions (ice). Shuffling your feet in short strokes helps maintain balance and reduces most forces that create a slip hazard.
3. Use of ice cleats* in icy conditions greatly increases traction thus reducing chances of slipping. However, use of ice cleats may also create a slip hazard when worn on some dry surfaces and when entering or exiting your vehicle. Use “Three-Point-Contact” when placing your feet on the steps to prevent falling.
4. If you start to slip and fall, drop what you may be carrying and roll with the fall.
*Ice cleats are not for every operation, they can cause damage if worn when there is a need to walk on the freight or tarp. In slick conditions when ice cleats are not worn extreme caution should be exercised.