care when walking on ice or packed snow
can learn a lot from a penguin when it comes to walking on ice and packed
snow – arms apart, feet spread slightly and short steps or a shuffle
for balance and stability. Few penguins are injured by falls.
Walking to and from parking lots or between
buildings at work during the winter months requires special attention
to avoid slipping and falling. No matter how well snow and ice is removed
from parking lots or sidewalks, people still encounter some slippery
surfaces when walking indoors or outdoors this time of year.
The greatest risk of injury from a fall
tends to occur while getting in and out of vehicles, walking from outdoors
to indoors onto tile, or from carpet to tile (wet footwear) and on outdoor
slopes or elevation changes, however slight.
ITD Safety and Risk Management Manager
Cheryl D. Rost offers the following tips to help reduce personal risk
while "ice walking:"
Maintain a firm two- or three-point
contact with the vehicle until both feet are securely planted. Leave
hand-carry items in the vehicle until ready to shut the door. Avoid
using an elbow to shut the door. Set one or more hand-carry items
down first, get steady and then shut the door with an easy motion.
Most slip and fall injuries occur
with heel or toe "strikes" that shift unexpectedly. Take
very short steps, making sure that the whole shoe contacts the surface.
Avoid carrying a heavy or awkward
item over irregular ice and snow patterns (e.g. parking lots). Take
time to get a cart.
Carry purses and briefcases low and
by the side. Keep hands out of pockets for better balance and because
it provides a chance to either recover from a slip or minimize impact.
Do not use a cell phone while walking
on icy surfaces. This raises and shifts the center of balance and
reduces focus on personal safety while still on a hazardous surface.
Stop in a safe location first before making a call.
Wear shoes suitable for slick conditions.
These include footwear that fit properly, (not loose) with low heels.
If needed, have an "indoor" pair to change into after entering
Be sure to wipe shoes thoroughly when
entering buildings with tile floors. Simply walking over carpet won't
dry shoes off immediately, especially near entrances where the carpet
is wet or damp from outdoor traffic.
It’s important for everyone
to be constantly aware of the dangers of winter walking and to learn
to walk safely on ice or slippery surfaces, Rost says.