Winter Weather – Preventing Slip, Trip and Fall Injuries
Slip, trip and fall injuries are the most common type of injury for drivers. Most of them occur during the winter months. Each year, thousands of professional drivers are seriously injured due to not paying attention in winter conditions. Working in the ice and snow requires your full attention and awareness.
Did you know? During the period of 10/1/17 to 4/30/18 the MTRMA claims staff handled a total of 15 slip and fall on ice or wet surface claims. The total incurred reserve for these 15 claims is currently at $678,500.54. That is an average cost per claim of $45,233.37.
- Plan ahead and give yourself sufficient time, take it slow, and don’t be in a hurry. Always wear proper footwear. A full support leather shoe with a rugged non-slip sole. Use non-slip covers on shoe (Yak Trax, etc.).
- Parking lots, streets and sidewalks that have been cleared of snow and ice should still be approached with caution. Look out for “black ice.” Dew, fog or water vapor can freeze on cold surfaces and form an extra-thin, nearly invisible layer of ice that can look like a wet spot on the pavement. It often shows up early in the morning or in areas that are shaded from the sun. Always stay on designated walkways.
- When walking on an icy walkway, “walk like a penguin”. The waddle keeps your center of gravity over your front leg and will help keep you upright. Spread your feet out slightly, to increase your center of gravity, and take small steps. Also, keep your hands out of your pockets while walking — that decreases your center of gravity and balance. You need your arms for balance.
- When walking on untreated icy walking surfaces. Keep a large mouth bottle filled with sand in the tractor that can be sprinkled on any untreated icy walking surfaces you encounter.
- Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles. Always use three points of contacts when exiting/entering your tractor or trailer or getting on the cat walk behind the cab. Look for ice on all handrails, hand grabs and steps before using them. When walking on steps, always use the hand railings and plant your feet firmly on each step. Use gloves for better grip.
- When entering a building, remove as much snow and water from your boots as you can. Take notice that floors and stairs may be wet and slippery–walk carefully.
- Carrying heavy items can challenge your sense of balance. Try not to carry too much–you need to leave your hands and arms free to better balance yourself.
- Be prepared to fall. If you feel yourself losing balance, tuck into a ball, make yourself as small as possible and keep your head and face away from the fall. Don’t put out your hands to catch yourself, or you’ll risk breaking your arms or wrists. Try to land on the fleshy part of your body rather than your knees or spine.
Remember our primary goal that you go home to your family and friends the way you came to work today, safe and healthy.