Winter Work Hazards – Slips and Falls

Icy weather brings added danger to the Canadian worksite. Even if your job is predominantly indoors, slips and falls on icy sidewalks, parking lots, or on slush brought in from outside can cause serious injuries to Canadian workers. While there is no way to completely eliminate the risks presented by icy and wet weather, there are ways to lower the chances of slips and falls in the workplace and help keep everyone safe this winter.

Ice is not nice

Black iceIf you ask most people to think of winter ice, they’ll describe an opaque layer of frozen water on the sidewalk or the clear, glass-like freezing that occurs on lakes and other bodies of water. While both of these are common winter ice conditions, neither is the one you’re likely to slip on. Black ice or invisible ice is a thin, slippery layer of ice that forms on roads, sidewalks, and other non-porous surfaces. You can’t always see black ice, and that’s what makes it so dangerous. The best advice to avoid slipping on black ice is to treat all surfaces as though they are ice-covered when walking – shorten your gait, slow down, wear proper footwear, and look where you are going.

Footwear Matters

Terra Therma Toe treadIn addition to slowing down your pace and shortening your gait to avoid slips and falls on slippery surfaces, having the right footwear can help you stay upright. Winter is not the time to be wearing boots or shoes with worn down treads, as it is the treads that help give you traction in slippery conditions. Winter work footwear is specifically designed to help you walk in snowy, slushy, and even icy conditions. Just as winter tires give your car additional traction on the road, winter boots give your feet additional traction on the sidewalk. If you know you will be walking on ice, you can purchase ice grips that go over your shoes or boots and offer additional traction. Keep in mind, though, that these grips should not be worn indoors as they can damage flooring.

An ounce of prevention is said to be worth a pound of cure – by being aware of your surroundings, shortening your gait, slowing down your walking speed, and wearing winter-specific footwear, you can lessen the chances of slip and fall injuries this winter.

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