Safety Tips Office safety Seasonal safety: Winter Slips, trips and falls Office Safety Tips

Don’t slip up this winter

icy car window
Photo: marcduf/iStockphoto

Winter weather is a well-known headache for commuters. But when people arrive at work, they have to face yet another hazard: sidewalks and parking lots that may be icy or slick.

“In 2014, there were 42,480 workplace injuries and illnesses involving ice, sleet or snow that required at least one day away from work to recuperate,” according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These incidents were the result of falls, slips or trips; overexertion and bodily reaction; transportation incidents; or contact with objects and equipment. Of these injuries and illnesses, 82 percent were results of falls on the same level.

Don’t get hurt

“It seems that every business has at least one serious injury or workers’ compensation claim a year related to falls in parking lots or on other exterior grounds,” the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation states.

To help stay safe while navigating parking lots in wintry conditions, the Snow and Ice Management Association recommends workers:

  • Wear appropriate footwear that has visible, heavy treads and a flat bottom.
  • Walk slowly and consciously when snow or ice is present, and use handrails if available.
  • Look where they’re stepping and anticipate slippery surfaces. Black ice – sometimes called clear ice – often appears early in the mornings, in shady areas, or where the sun shines during the day and melted snow refreezes at night.
  • Do not listen to music or talk on a cellphone while walking. Also, workers should keep alert for any vehicles and snow removal equipment.
  • Watch for wet floors when entering the workplace, as co-workers may have tracked in snow and slush.
  • Look up for snow or ice that may fall or break away from awnings, buildings and windows.

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