Monday, January 30, 2012

Be Safe on Ice

Walking to and from parking lots or between buildings during the winter requires special attention to avoid slipping and falling. Slips and falls are some of the most frequent types of injuries especially during the winter months.

No matter how well the snow and ice is removed from parking lots or sidewalks, you will still encounter some slippery surfaces when walking outdoors in the winter. It is important for everyone to be constantly aware of these dangers and to learn to walk safely on ice and slippery surfaces.

Keep these important safety tips in mind:

• In cold temperatures, approach with caution and assume that all wet, dark areas on pavements are slippery and icy.
• During bad weather, avoid boots or shoes with smooth soles and heels. Instead, wear shoes or boots that provide traction on snow and ice; boots made of non-slip rubber or neoprene with grooved soles are best.
• Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles; use the vehicle for support.
• Walk in designated walkways as much as possible. Taking shortcuts over snow piles and other frozen areas can be hazardous. Look ahead when you walk; a snow or ice covered sidewalk or driveway, especially if on a hill, may require travel along its grassy edge for traction.
• Point your feet out slightly like a penguin! Spreading your feet out slightly while walking on ice increases your center of gravity.
• Bend slightly and walk flat-footed with your center of gravity directly over your feet as much as possible.
• Extend your arms out to your sides to maintain balance.
• Keep your hands out of your pockets. Hands in your pockets while walking decreases your center of gravity and balance. You can break your fall with your hands free if you do start to slip.
• Watch where you are stepping and GO S-L-O-W-L-Y!!
• Take short steps or shuffle for stability.
• Wear a heavy, bulky coat that will cushion you if you should fall.
• Try to avoid landing on your knees, wrists, or spine. Try to fall on a fleshy part of your body, such as your side.
• Try to relax your muscles if you fall. You’ll injure yourself less if you are relaxed.

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