Winter is coming and with it, the potential for slips, trips, and falls. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), over 42,000 workplace injuries are due to fall accidents. The majority of these, or about 66%, are same level falls due to slips and trips. The inevitable winter ice and snow just makes a more hazardous environment that could increase the risk of injuries.
While Accuweather is predicting a mild winter for some areas, meteorologist for Canada, Brett Anderson, is also predicting a “colder than normal” winter season for the Rocky Mountains and Prairies. Whatever the case maybe, Canadians will have snow and ice to deal with at home and at work.
Prevent slips, trips, and falls this winter season. Keep these safety tips in mind while navigating through the snow and ice:
General Tips for Surviving Winter
- Make a workplace safety program for the winter – Create an action plan customized for winter hazards. This should contain helpful information for workers on how to prepare for winter conditions around their facility.
- Keep walkways clear. Remove hazards immediately such as water on floors and stairs, and snow on sidewalks.
- Mark hazardous areas whenever necessary. Use temporary signs, cones, barricades, or floor stand signs to warn workers passing by.
- Select footwear with appropriate traction. You may also wear removable ice cleats when walking outdoors. Just remember to remove them indoors.
- Clear off the heavy snow with a shovel. For best results, use a specialized snow shovel.
- Sweep off the leftover snow.
- Apply eco-friendly chemical de-icer or ice melter to keep the ice from forming longer.
Tips for Walking Safely in the Wintertime
- Wear footwear with heavy treads for increased traction.
- Make yourself visible to drivers by wearing brightly colored jackets or clothes.
- Consider wearing sunglasses to enable you to see through the bright snow reflection.
- Keep your hands out ready to steady yourself in case of slips.
- Look ahead where you’re going and anticipate obstacles like uneven ground and ice or puddles.
- Avoid carrying heavy loads that may tip your balance.
- Test slippery areas by tapping a foot before walking.
- Walk slowly and in small shuffling steps to prevent slipping.
- Walk along the grassy edges for maximum traction if the walkway is covered in ice.
Getting through the winter season without suffering a slip, trip or fall is not a difficult feat with the right preparation and presence of mind. Just remember that safety should always be the top priority in every season, all the time.
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