Protect Yourself from Winter’s Slips, Trips and Falls
Author: Clayton Van Balen, Employee Health Director
Winter weather makes walking outside a risk for concussions, sprains and strains as well as fractures of ankles, hips, pelvis, spine and wrists. In order to prevent these injuries, we need to be aware of the hazards that increase the risk of slips and falls. For example, if there is liquid on the floor, we should notify the appropriate staff so that safety signs can be placed and the area cleaned. If there is poor lighting due to a burned out light, we should notify the appropriate staff. Another example of a hazard that I have observed are the pieces of paper or cellophane that others throw down on stairs. We must keep surfaces clean in order to prevent slips and falls.
Other common areas for falls, slips and trips to occur are the sidewalks and parking ramps. In order to prevent injuries, we should encourage everyone to wear proper footwear and apply sand and salt to the areas as frequently as needed. We should also recommend using appropriate passageways. As an example, one of the most significant ankle fractures I have seen occurred when an individual cut across the grass rather than use the side walk.
The benefit of everyone looking out for potential hazards will be a safer place to work. An action that might only take a minute to perform may save a fellow employee months of recovery.