Winter Safety Tips And Slips & Falls Safety

Written By AJ Hale Jr. CSM-LSP, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Risk Manager

Obviously, driving in winter weather is a monumental safety hazard due to slippery roads and drivers around you, but there are other hazards as well:

Plowed Snow Results in Blind Spots

  • Many intersections are blind now because of high snow piles. Be extra cautious when approaching and moving through any intersection.
  • Road shoulders are practically non-existent. As road crews work toward opening these passages, take extra precaution when determining the best location to stage the vehicle.
  • Think through the possible scenarios of “other drivers” that might lose control of their vehicles and what that means to you.
  • Always wear your reflective vest or jacket, especially when working along a roadway.
  • There are a lot more hours of darkness during the winter months. Heavy cloud cover will cause dusk to settle in earlier making you hard to see.
  • Sometimes in the rush of getting our work done, the sense of urgency overwhelms our thought processes about safe driving. Slow down, anticipate other drivers and be aware of the changing conditions. Never assume anything.
  • Exercise caution when getting in and out of vehicles. Walk slowly and deliberately.
  • Wear boots or other slip-resistant footwear.
  • Be prepared for black ice formation after melting occurs.
Extreme Weather Driving

  • There are several general rules for driving safely in extreme weather.
  • Start out earlier and allow extra time when weather conditions are difficult.
  • Turn on your headlights lights so you can see better and so that other drivers can see you better.
  • Slow down and match your speed to the weather conditions rather than the posted speed.
  • Stay alert and watch out for other drivers and dangerous road conditions.
  • Increase following distance from 2 seconds to at least 4 seconds.
  • Prepare for stops so you can bring your vehicle to a halt quickly but safely.
  • Get off the road to a safe place like a rest stop or turnout if weather conditions get so bad that it is unsafe to continue.

Slips & Falls Safety

Have you fallen and you can’t get up? Those timeless commercials probably make you roll your eyes, but falls are actually the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in adults 45 and older. Not only do falls happen any time of year, but winters in the Midwest can be especially rough. We are often hit with the wombo-combo of snow, freezing temperatures and extreme wind. While the ice sculptures Mother Nature creates are pretty when you’re indoors, facing the treacherous walk from your office to your car, or helping a client, can become an Olympic sport.

Since very few people are trained Olympic ice skaters, it’s important to think about fall prevention techniques before winter becomes even colder. Most adults who fracture a bone do so because of a fall. Protect yourself from trips and slips with these winter safety tips.

Look Before You Step
The best way to keep from falling is to watch where you are stepping. If that wet patch up ahead looks like it might be ice, avoid it. It’s also important to look ahead at what you might be walking into. Move slowly and examine your surroundings. Find the path of least resistance, or in this case, the least snow-covered ice.

Watch the Floors
Even after you have made it inside, watch out for places that other people have walked. Snow and ice from other people’s shoes will most likely have melted into lovely, brown messes on the floor. Mix that in with tile or linoleum, and you have a recipe for disaster. Watch where you are walking for your first few steps inside to avoid these potential slipping hazards.

Wear the Right Shoes
Even if you are required to wear dress shoes to work, high heels and ice don’t mix. Wear boots with rough or textured soles to trek through the snow and ice. These boots will give you much more traction than any dress shoe. While changing into and out of different shoes might seem like a hassle, it’s much more important to protect yourself from falling.

Use Handrails
Whether you’re inside or outside, handrails are available to you for a reason. Think of the mid‐west like an ice skating rink. Seems pretty accurate, right? Well, ice skating rinks have railings! They obviously work. Whenever a railing is available to you, use it. Railings have been proven to keep people upright when they begin to slip.

Tensing up when you fall can actually cause you to injure yourself more. While it sounds impossible, relaxing and keeping yourself from fighting the fall can prevent serious injuries from happening. If you are falling forward, try to roll with the fall. If you are falling backward, attempt to sit down on your bottom.

Use Salt & Floor Mats
After a snow or ice storm, be sure to use salt, ice melt or sand to increase traction on sidewalks, driveways and parking lots. Make sure floor mats are located at entrance way doors. This additional traction can be a deciding factor in whether or not you slip and fall.

Winter in the Midwest can be beautiful, and dangerous. Protect yourself by keeping these winter safety tips in mind. Accidents happen, and in the event that you do fall, report the incident to your supervisor right away. 

Should you require assistance with understanding or applying the OSHA or MIOSHA Standards, please contact AJ Hale, CompOne Administrators Inc./Rizikon, at 269-789-9166 or
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