The Punch List

The Safe Zone: Weather Related Falls

Welcome to The Safe Zone, a new weekly series for safety topics discussed within George Nice & Sons! Each week, you will find safety tips following a specific topic chosen for the month. February's topic - ironically, with all this warm weather we've been having - is Winter Preparedness. This week we discussed weather related falls.

Especially in cold weather, workers need to pay special attention to where they’re walking. Walkways can become slippery due to wet weather, ice, snow, or wetness due to melting ice and snow. A walkway that has been cleared of snow, or looks as though it’s been salted, can still be a fall hazard. Black ice, dew, fog, and water vapor can form a thin layer on just about any surface, creating an almost unseen fall hazard. Sometimes they are visible as wet spots on surfaces, and show up in the early mornings or shaded areas that see little sunlight. Cold weather increases the frequency of these slippery surfaces.

Here are ten tips to help avoid falling on slippery surfaces, especially in cold weather:

  1. Pay attention and watch your step.

  2. Wear appropriate footwear with soles in good condition.

  3. Bend your knees a little when walking to increase your body’s stability. This can increase your traction and reduce your chance of falling.

  4. Take shorter steps and walk with a slower gait. This will allow you more time to adjust to changing traction conditions.

  5. Take special care when entering and exiting auto; use the vehicle for support.

  6. When entering a building, remove as much snow, dirt, and moisture from your shoes as possible.

  7. If your building entrance is slippery, take the necessary steps to get it cleaned up, protecting you and you fellow workers from falling.

  8. Use handrails when climbing stairs.

  9. Avoid overloading when carrying items. Heavy items may challenge your sense of balance. Ask for help to carry heavy or awkwardly shaped items. Use tools, such as a hand truck, to carry items if required.

  10. Avoid rushing around. Plan ahead and try to leave a little earlier so you can walk without distraction.