Did you know that slips and falls are two of the most common causes of injury during the winter months? Rain, ice and snow all can dramatically increase the likelihood that you or one of your employees will end up injured. One of the best ways to avoid a serious injury? Walk like a penguin. It’s easy. Simply spread your feet out a bit to increase your center of gravity and take small steps. Next time you are out on an icy sidewalk, try it. Here are some other suggestions to help prevent wintertime slips and falls:
Monitor conditions from the parking lot to the office area. Spot check your parking area and both your outdoor and indoor pathways regularly to ensure they are safe. It’s easy to track in rain or snow, so keep an eye out for the interior entry area. Clean up any spills, wet floors or standing water immediately.
Wear the proper shoes. Make sure your shoes have proper traction. Dress shoes and other types of footwear that have little or no traction aren’t good choices when there’s rain, ice or snow. Invest in quality winter footwear that you can wear in times of inclement weather.
Assume the surface is slippery. If you aren’t sure whether a surface is icy, it’s better just to assume that it is.
Take your time. Don’t rush on rainy, icy or snowy pathways. Use any handrails that are available to you, and don’t use your cell phone while walking.
Keep your hands out of your pockets. This is an important tip. Walking with your hands in your pockets decreases your center of gravity and balance and increases your chances of suffering an even greater injury in the event of a fall. If your hands are out of your pockets, you’ll be better able to break your fall with them. Use handrails wherever available.
Take care when shoveling snow. It’s a strenuous activity that can lead to injury. When shoveling, keep your back straight, lift with your legs and do not turn or twist your body while shoveling.
Hire a quality vendor. Hiring an outside vendor to handle wintertime maintenance and ensure the safety of your workers can be a great option for your business.
Report unsafe conditions. Encourage employees to report any unsafe conditions inside or outside your facility immediately.
Respond to problems quickly. Anytime there’s an accident indoors or out, it’s critical to review your safety plan and procedures, and if needed, revise them.