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Tips for Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls

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A puppy tenatively walks through the snow

 

by Desti A. Stimes, Public Affairs Officer, Lexington VA Medical Center
Monday, January 13, 2014

Winter weather can be treacherous. Extreme wintry conditions can make walking on wet or slippery surfaces unavoidable. If you must walk on wet or slippery surfaces, observe the following precautions:

  • Take smaller steps to keep the center of balance underneath yourself.
  • Walk like a penguin — sound silly? Not really. Walk with your toes pointed outward. This will provide a wider, more stable base of support for maintaining balance.
  • Turn gradually and slowly. A sharp turn results in a sideways force that can cause loss of balance.
  • Keep both hands free for balance.
  • Use hand railings when walking on steps.

 Take short steps and walk at a slower pace. 

Walking on Snow and Ice

The following precautions will help reduce the likelihood of any injuries:

  • Whenever possible, walk on surfaces that have been cleared of snow and ice.
  • Walking on snow or ice is especially treacherous and wearing proper footwear is essential. A pair of well insulated boots with good rubber treads is a must for walking during or after a winter storm. Keeping a pair of rubber over-shoes with good treads which fit over your street shoes is a good idea during the winter months.
  • When walking on an icy or snow-covered walkway, take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction.
  • If you must walk in the street, walk against the traffic and as close to the curb as you can.
  • Be on the lookout for vehicles which may have lost traction and are slipping towards you. Be aware that approaching vehicles may not be able to stop at crosswalks or traffic signals.
  • At night, wear bright clothing or reflective gear, as dark clothing will make it difficult for motorists to see you.
  • During the daytime, wear sunglasses to help you see better and avoid hazards.

Be safe during the wintry months, stay warm and stay upright!

Contributing: Derrick McKinney, Safety Office.