November 22, 2019

Winter walking: Tips to avoid slip and fall injuries

Purdue employees experience slips and falls due to snowy and icy conditions every winter. Some injuries are severe and have a long-term physical effect on the employee. Broken hips, broken arms and injuries to backs or heads are among the most serious. 

As winter weather approaches, Radiological and Environmental Management reminds everyone to walk safely and take some simple precautions inside and outside to reduce the chance of injury:

* Wear appropriate footwear including those with soles that are specifically designed to grip on ice to increase traction, or wear over-the-shoe ice cleats. Smooth soles and high heels offer little traction on ice and snow and should not be worn. Remember to remove ice cleats indoors to avoid slipping on tile and terrazzo. 

* Use your vehicle’s door or seat to provide stability when entering or exiting as parking lots may be slippery, particularly between vehicles.  

* Avoid carrying heavy or awkward loads; use shoulder straps on bags and backpacks, and wear gloves to keep your hands warm and free for balance.

* Slow down and take shorter steps so you can react to a change in traction more easily.

* Plan your route, and walk only on cleared and treated surfaces. Use pedestrian walkways and subwalks and walk through buildings whenever possible; use caution transitioning from outside to inside as surfaces may be wet or slippery.

* Use handrails when walking up and down stairs or take the elevator. Falls on stairs often lead to severe injuries, especially when slippery conditions are present.

* Contact the Grounds department at 765-494-3087 or atarvin@purdue.edu to report unsafe surface conditions inside or outside of buildings. Don’t assume someone else already reported the hazard.

In order to facilitate immediate action on snowy or icy conditions directly outside building entrances, individuals may use the self-serve ice melt buckets located near doors in some facilities across campus. Contact Dave Petros, occupational safety specialist, at petros@purdue.edu for more information about this initiative or to request self-serve buckets for your building.

To spread awareness, REM offers a winter walking safety infographic that is best printed on 11-by-17-inch paper for posting on employee resource bulletin boards. Additionally, an informative two-minute video created by Wyoming Workforce Services demonstrates some of these winter walking techniques.

For more information, contact REM at 765-494-6371 or send email to Eric Butt, REM assistant director, at embutt@purdue.edu.


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