Walking on Snow and Ice

Most slips and falls occur the following days after a winter storm. Below are tips for walking on the snow and ice. Take care and have a safe day.

Walking Safely on Snow and Ice

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

No matter how well the snow and ice is removed from parking lots or sidewalks, pedestrians 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.

Reminders

§ Wear appropriate shoes.

§ Walk in designated walkways.

§ Watch where you are walking.

§ Walk slowly and don’t rush!

§ Plan ahead and give yourself enough time.

It is recommended to keep these important safety tips in mind:

Choosing Appropriate Clothing

  • During bad weather, avoid boots or shoes with smooth soles and heels, such as plastic and leather soles. 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.
  • Wear a heavy, bulky coat that will cushion you if you should fall.
  • Wear a bright scarf or hat or reflective gear so drivers can see you.
  • Keep warm, but make sure you can hear what’s going on around you.
  • During the day, wear sunglasses to help you see better and avoid hazards.
  • Whatever you wear, make sure it doesn’t block your vision or make it hard for you to hear traffic.

Walking Over Ice

Walk like a penguin

  • In cold temperatures, approach with caution and assume that all wet, dark areas on pavements are slippery and icy. Dew or water vapor can freeze on cold surfaces, forming an extra-thin, nearly invisible layer of ice that can look like a wet spot on the pavement.
  • 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.
  • If you must walk in the street, walk against the flow of traffic, as close to the curb as you can.
  • Taking shortcuts through areas where snow and ice removal is not feasible can be hazardous. Try to avoid straying from the beaten path.

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 the feet as much as possible.
  • Extend your arms out to your sides to maintain balance. Beware if you are carrying a heavy backpack or other loadyour sense of balance will be off.
    • If you must carry a load, try not to carry too much; leave your hands and arms free to balance yourself.
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets. Hands in your pockets while walking decreases your center of gravity and balance. You can help 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 !! This will help your reaction time to changes in traction.
  • When walking on steps, always use the hand railings and plant your feet firmly on each step.
  • Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles; use the vehicle for support.
  • Take short steps or shuffle for stability. It also helps to stop occasionally to break momentum.

Dealing with Traffic

Another hazard of walking on icy ground is dealing with poor road conditions. Keep these safety tips in mind if you’re going to be crossing the street:

  • Before stepping off the curb, make sure all cars and trucks have come to a complete stop. Motorists sometimes underestimate the time it takes to stop, often unintentionally sliding into the crosswalk.
  • Due to poor road conditions, motorists may not be able to stop or slow down for pedestrians. Avoid crossing in areas where driver visibility is lowthe cross traffic may not be able to stop in time.
  • Be on the lookout for vehicles sliding in your direction.
  • Vehicles should yield to snow removal equipment in streets and parking lots.

Indoor Safety

Walking over slippery floor can be just as dangerous as walking over ice! Keep these tips in mind if you are entering a building:

  • Remove as much snow and water from your boots as you can. Water from melting ice on the floor can lead to slippery conditions.
  • Notice that floors and stairs may be wet and slipperywalk carefully especially by outer doors.

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. Wearing thick clothing can help prevent injury to the bony parts of your body.
  • Try to relax your muscles if you fall. You’ll injure yourself less if you are relaxed.

If you fall backward, make a conscious effort to tuck your chin so your head won’t hit the ground with full force.

Safety First, Safety Always!

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

koswald@plateautel.com


10 Steps to Preventing Slips, Trips & Falls in the Workplace

10 Steps to Preventing Slips, Trips & Falls in the Workplace

Slips, trips and falls are a serious concern in the workplace. In fact, falls make up approximately 20% of all workplace injuries. They result in an average of 11 days away from work, and nearly $40,000 in costs per incident.

 

Download this free whitepaper, 10 Steps to Preventing Slips, Trips & Falls, to learn how to keep your employees safe and keep your facility in compliance with OSHAs standards for safe walking/working surfaces.

In this whitepaper, youll learn:

  • How to assess your potential for slips, trips and falls
  • 10 ways to improve your facilitys floor safety
  • Tips for facility marking and inspection
  • And more!

This guide is available on the Brady Website at: http://www.bradyid.com/bradyid/downloads/downloadsPageView.do?file=10_Steps_To_Prevent_Slips_Trips_Falls_Guide.pdf


Slips, Trips and Falls Training Video

Looking for a good training video for your next safety meetings?

Considering the fact that slips, trips and falls are still one of the biggest causes of accidents in the workplace and usually the most easy to fix, the video by worksafebc.com might be a great place to start.

The video does a great job of covering all the basics and more in an easy to follow fairly entertaining manner.

Check out their Youtube video. While you’re there, have a look at the other videos they’ve posted.


Signs and Railings Not Enough?!?!

The tragic deaths of three people this past week at Yosemite National Park has a strange connection with workplace safety and that is namely “How much protection and warning is enough?”

In case you missed the news story… three hikers climbed over the railing, ignoring signs that warned of the danger of doing so as well as ignoring the advice of others present, died when they were swept over the falls. One of the three slipped and started to slide, the other two, in an effort to save their friend, were pulled along and swept to their deaths.

Tragic as these deaths are, it sounds pretty straight forward. Now apparently, the families of the three who were killed are hiring a consultant to evaluate whether the safety measures were adequate. I personally have no doubt that the consultant will conclude that they weren’t, that’s always how these things go. Already, the consultant, Romian Kiryakous has been quoted as saying “I’m not content with that skimpy little rail”. I’m not really sure why the thickness of the rail is a problem, after all the rail didn’t fail.

Last Saturday, I hiked to the top of Multnomah falls in Oregon, ironically it’s second in height only to the Yosemite falls in North America. At the top of those falls, there is the same “skimpy railing”. That same “skimpy railing” has been there for a very long time and it has served to keep millions of people from plummeting over the falls to their deaths.

The fault can’t be put on the shoulders of the three youths, they are, after all, dead. Someone has to be blamed and “safety measures” seem to be the easy target. I have no doubt that a lawsuit will follow.

As a safety professional, I have walked through numerous facilities where barriers and signs are posted in order to protect workers from potential dangers. Barriers and signs are what OSHA requires. If these are in place, the OSHA inspectors are happy.

My question to the families and the consultant is “What exactly is appropriate protection?” Are we going to have to erect walls that keep hikers hundreds of feet back? Maybe electrified fences? Armed patrols with stun guns? Cages from which the falls can be viewed?

It is always hard to write about something of this nature without sounding insensitive put this blogger for one, has to state the obvious. The barrier (“skimpy” or not) was enough to keep everyone else away from danger; the signs that are posted were also enough. These three kids died because they chose to ignore them. It required a fair amount of work to climb over that barrier. It took a conscious “snubbing” of the rules of the park as well as willful defiance of the warnings of others present.

I feel saddened at the deaths but trying to blame anyone but the youths is ludicrous and will only lead to increased safety measured designed only to protect people from their own stupidity.


Top Ten Things to Watch for at Home #3

3. Windows and balconies

Falls account for a high percentage of deaths in construction and a big part of our business has to do with fall protection. Unfortunately falls also account for a large percentage of fatalities in the home as well.

Anyone who’s had kids has experienced the shock of suddenly seeing that child who can’t even walk yet standing on top of a dresser or a table. It’s enough to make you think that we did indeed evolve from monkeys. We suddenly become aware of the fact that the window we didn’t think we needed to worry about for a while yet needs to be looked at.

Windows and balconies that are two or more stories up are potentially a problem. Even first floor windows can cause injuries. Falls from as little as two feet can result in head injuries or even fatalities. Do not assume that there is no way that your child will ever be able to reach it. He or she will. It isn’t a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of “when”. Part of the problem is that children assume that screens will hold them and therefore lean against them without a care in the world. A fear of heights isn’t something we are born with it’s something that we develop over time.

The Fix

Windows

  • Do not leave windows open when children are present
  • Some newer windows come with built-in locks that only allow the window to be opened so far. If your windows aren’t equipped with this safety feature, purchase a window wedge for every window (at $3.59 each, it’s not going to be a huge financial outlay).
  • NEVER trust screens
  • When organizing and setting up a room (especially rooms where children will be often be present) try to keep dressers, tables, chairs and beds away from the windows.
  • If your windows open vertically (as opposed to sliding horizontally) open the windows from the top rather than from the bottom.

Balconies

Building codes vary from state to state so check to find out what the codes are for your area.

A few rules of thumb, however….

  • Make sure that railings are at least 36″ to 42″ in height
  • Make sure that the spacing of the balusters are 3″ to 6″
  • Make sure that the space at the bottom of the rail (deck-to-bottom of railing) is 2″ to 4″
  • Make sure that the balusters are properly anchored and won’t break or give way if a child leans on them

I know that one of my big projects at my home this summer is going to be a redo of the balcony. The balusters aren’t spaced properly and they are held in place with only a nail of two. With our grandson coming over, it’s a major priority to make sure he’s safe when he’s out there. This is what it looks like now:

And this is what I would like to do.

Where would I find the black metal rods?

Any suggestions?


Slips and Falls account for 15% of workplace injuries

Stumble It! Digg! Add to Mixx! Pownce

While slips and falls might be hilarious in the movies (Think man slipping on a banana peel), in real life they are serious and costly business. In 1999 slips, trips and falls accounted for over 1 million injuries and 17,000 fatalities; that’s 15% of all disabling injuries for that year. That’s a lot of time off work, a lot of pain and a lot of money (the average disabling injury cost upwards of $28,000 and close to 1 million dollars for a fatality).

Want to step up your safety program? Want to help reduce injuries in your workplace? Or even in your home? Start with slips, trips and falls.

Falls fit into one of two categories: Same Level or Elevated Level

Today’s blog is going to focus on same level falls and tomorrow we will look at elevated level falls.

Same Level Falls

Same level falls (SLF) account for 60% of falls and are caused by one of two things:

  1. When the bodies momentum pulls a person to the ground because his or her feet have been halted. These are classified are “trips”. An example of this is when your foot hits a ledge of some sort (carpet that isn’t laying flat, curb, or whatever). The body continues to move forward, carried by the momentum but, because the feet have been kept from following the person falls to the ground. Trips are caused by poor lighting, obstructed views, carpets that aren’t laying flat, clutter and debris, etc…
  2. When the foot loose traction (think banana peel here) and, having no more support, the body crashes to the ground. These are classified as “Slips”. Slips are caused by wet or oily surfaces, spills, rainwater on the floor, unanchored carpets or other items with no traction lying on the floor.

The first cause listed above is a matter of paying attention to carpets with frayed edges and making sure that all lips and ledges are clearly marked with marking tape. Be sure to clearly mark a perimeter on the ground around all the racks and shelving.

The second cause is best dealt with by mopping up and cleaning up messes, rainwater and spills right away. Installing the proper matting in chronic areas can also “elevate” people above the hazard. Be aware of areas where the floor might be wet and install the appropriate matting or anti-slip tape or anti-slip paint. In other areas, the safety issue might be due to shavings, debris or other scraps that accumulate on the floor. Here again, the right dry environment matting can help.

Taking a little time to thoroughly examine your environment can make a huge difference.

Tomorrow… Elevated Level Falls

 

 

 


Staying Safe inside the home

June is National Safety month (not National Safety, Inc. month, though we would feel honored if that were the case…) and the National Safety Council is launching a campaign to try to educate us concerning the dangers inherent in the home.

The bad news is that the number of injuries and death inside the home is still way to high. The good news is that small changes in behavior and a little work can dramatically decrease the danger to yourself and your loves ones in your home.

The Home Safety Council provides a number of resources that we should all take advantage of. Among them is a downloadable checklist in .pdf format (Click here to download it).

The top three in-home injuries and the checklist to prevent them are:

  1. Falls
    1. Use bright lights at the top and bottom of stairs and make sure hallways and dark areas in the home are well-lit at night with nightlights.
    2. Install grab bars in the tub, shower and near toilets.
    3. Use a rubber bath mat or non-slip strips in the tub.
    4. Wipe up spills and splashed bathwater promptly.
    5. All stairs and steps need handrails along both sides, secured along the full length of the stairway.
    6. Keep stairs and pathways clear of clutter.
    7. In homes with babies and toddlers, use baby gates at the top and bottom of stairs.

       

  2. Poisoning
    1. Know the national poison control center toll-free number–1-800-222-1222 — and keep the number by every phone in the home.
    2. Look around your home—under the sink, in the garage—for cleaning products and automotive fluids that say “Caution”, “Warning” or “Danger” on the label. Store these away from food, in locked cabinets out of sight and reach of children.
    3. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poison you can’t see, smell or taste. CO is produced by fuel-burning appliances and equipment in your home. These need proper maintenance for safe use. Also install a carbon monoxide detector to alert you if the CO level becomes unsafe.
    4. Install child locks on all cabinets—especially where potentially harmful items are stored.
    5. Be sure cleaning products and other household substances have child-resistant closures.
    6. Keep all medicines and vitamins in original containers in a secure area—away from children.
    7. Store dangerous chemicals such as pesticides, automotive fluids and paint thinner in a secure locked cabinet.
    8. Always store gasoline in an approved container.

     

  3. Fires and Burns
    1. Check the setting of your water heater and make sure it’s set no higher than 120 degrees F.
    2. Install smoke alarms on each level of your home—especially in or near sleeping areas.
    3. Test each smoke alarm every month by pushing the test button until you hear a loud noise.
    4. Replace smoke alarm batteries with new ones at least once each year.
    5. Know how to escape a fire. Find two exits out of every room – the door and possibly a window. Choose an outside meeting place in front of the home. Practice your plan twice a year with all members of the family.
    6. Stay in the kitchen while food is cooking on the stove.
    7. Make sure an adult is in the room constantly while a candle is burning.
    8. Be sure to lock matches and lighters away from children.

If this list seems daunting, why not break it down into smaller “Daily To-Do Tasks” over the next week or so. Making this a priority can make a HUGE difference.

 Also, be sure to check out all the other resources available at: http://www.homesafetycouncil.org/resource_center/resourcecenter.aspx