PROTECTION AGAINST SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENTS IN WINTER
Changes in weather conditions during winter months pose various risks for people. Cases of injury that usually take place in winter can be categorized as daily life injuries and winter sports-related injuries.
Slip and fall accidents tend to become more critical and frequent in winter months. To avoid any unfavorable condition, you should listen to weather forecasts and be prepared for slippery ground; these might take time but will certainly protect you against accidents.
The following risk factors should be taken into consideration in winter months:
- Wet or icy floor and shoes worn in winter
- Snow broth and icy areas around building entrances
- Black ice (very thin ice as an unvisible film layer)
- High heels and shoes with leather sole
- Heavy loads which may cause lack of balance and carried items that block view
Proper care must be paid to selection of clothes during cold days when floors are slippery. Suitable shoes, caps, gloves and scarves must be used. Clothes that keep our muscles warmer ensure us to give necessary reaction in case of slip. Additionally, gloves protect our hands in case of fall. Extend your arms out to your sides to maintain balance, beware if you are carrying a heavy backpack or other load—your sense of balance will be off. If you must carry a load, try not to carry too much so as to balance yourself. Leave your hands free an out of your pockets. Hands in your pockets while walking will reduce balance. You can help break your fall with your hands free if you do start to slip.
There are no shoes that are safe in all weather conditions; however, shoes with synthethic, soft or hard rubber sole provide better traction in icy and snowy conditions, compared to plastic and leather soles. Prefer heat-insulated, water -proof, non-slip, wide fitting and low heel winter shoes with a thick sole.
If you have to walk on slippery ground, bend slightly, take shorter steps and even shuffle for stability. Take much more time to arrive at your destination and do not hurry. Moving SLOWLY at each step will increase your reaction time. Using handrails while climbing up stairs will provide more balance. Pay special care to your first steps while getting on and off vehicles. Walk flat-footed with your knees bent, and take as short steps as possible while walking on the sidewalk.
As you get out of your car in the parking area in the early morning, keep in mind that the floor might not have been cleaned yet. Most of the slip and fall accidents take place while getting in and out of cars and climbing down stairs. Hold on to your vehicle while getting in and out for stability.
Prefer walking on sidewalks as far as possible. If you have to walk on the road, prefer walking in opposite direction of the traffic. Before you take a step down from the sidewalk, make 100% sure that vehicles in the traffic have stopped.
Check building entrances and high areas to make sure that you avoid icicles. Be careful as icicles on the northern side of buildings will remain unmelted for a longer period of time. Clean your shoes as you enter into buildings so you will avoid wet floors that might cause you to slip. Apply a mixture of salt and sand on icy grounds at the entrance of buildings to avoid slips.
If you accidentally fall and become injured despite safety measures, you should consult your physician for examination.