Tips for walking safely in slippery conditions
Walking to and from your car during the winter requires special attention to avoid slipping and falling. Slips and falls are some of the most frequent types of injuries that occur among LFCHD staff.
No matter how well the snow and ice is removed from parking lots and sidewalks, we can still encounter some slippery surfaces when walking outdoors in the winter. It is important for each of us to recognize the hazards of slippery walks and roadways.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Wear boots or shoes with nonslip or grip soles, such as rubber and neoprene composite. Slick leather or plastic soles on shoes will definitely increase the risk of slipping. Consider bringing “inside” shoes and changing when you arrive.
- Dark winter coats can make it hard for motorists to see you, especially if they aren’t expecting you. Consider wearing a brightly-colored scarf or hat, or reflective gear, especially if you have to walk in the street.
- Whatever you wear, make sure it doesn’t block your vision or make it hard for you to hear traffic, whether outside or while driving.
Parking lots and sidewalks
- Maintenance can clear and spread salt to melt ice today but it can freeze again overnight. In cold temperatures, assume that all wet, dark areas on pavements are slippery and icy (black ice). This is especially true in the morning and in shady spots during the day.
- Before getting out of your vehicle, look down at the surface. If it’s coated with ice you might want to park in a different place. Test potentially slick areas by tapping your foot on them.
- Use special care when entering or exiting vehicles. Use the vehicle for support. Before standing, brace yourself with the vehicle door and seat back. This will give you some stability.
- Place your full attention on walking. Bend your knees a little and take slower or short, shuffling steps in very icy areas.
- Extend your arms out to your sides to maintain balance. Don’t walk with your hands in your pockets. This reduces the ability to use your arms for balance if you do slip.
- Don’t carry heavy loads, such as large boxes, cases or purses. They can alter your sense of balance and increase the chance of falling.
- If you use a rolling cart or carry box, remember that it can also slip on ice as you push or pull it.
- Watch for uneven surfaces. Avoid curbs with ice on them.
- When walking up or down stairs, be sure to grip handrails firmly and plant your feet securely on each step.
- Look up. Be careful about what you walk under. Injuries can also result from falling snow/ice as it blows, melts, or breaks away from awnings, buildings, etc.
- Because of road conditions, motorists may not be able to stop at traffic signals or slow down for pedestrians. Before you step off of the curb into the street, make sure that any approaching vehicles have come to a complete stop.
- When you come inside, be sure to look at the floor as you enter the building. The floor may be wet with melted snow and ice.
- Before leaving the entryway, brush or shake off garments with a lot of snow. Shake water from umbrellas. Avoid bringing ice or water into work areas.
- If you find a dangerous patch of ice or puddle of water, let Maintenance know. Use the “Facilities Maintenance Request” tab on the Intranet or call the Switchboard.