Safety Tips to Prevent Slips, Trips & Falls
Every winter we venture outside and endure the snow, slush and ice—putting ourselves at risk of slipping, tripping and falling. Whether it’s walking to the bus stop or a couple steps out the door to pick up the mail, we've all experienced that heart-stopping moment as our feet try to stabilize on a slippery surface.
Help keep you and your family safe this winter by following these fall prevention and winter walking tips from Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare’s Associate Health and Wellness.
- Wear proper foot gear.
- Take smaller steps when walking.
- Keep both hands free for balance rather than in your pockets.
- Use handrails from start to finish.
- Avoid carrying loads.
- Keep your eyes on where you are going.
- Test potentially slick areas by tapping your foot on them.
- Step – don’t jump from vehicles or equipment.
- Keep walkways clear of debris, water, ice and slippery materials.
Safe Winter Walking
The benefits of taking an outdoor winter walk are enormous, both mentally and physically! But winter walking also requires a certain amount of preparation and precaution. Follow these tips before heading outside:
- Plan ahead – give yourself sufficient time and plan your route
- Wear shoes that provide traction on snow or ice – rubber and neoprene composite Avoid plastic or leather soles
- Walk in designated walkways as much as possible
- If a walkway completely iced over, try to travel along its edge for traction on snow or grass
When given no choice but to walk on ice, consider the following:
- Take short steps or shuffle for stability
- Bend slightly, walk flat-footed with your center of gravity directly over the feet as much as possible
- When entering buildings, remove snow and water from footwear to prevent wet slippery conditions indoors
- If you fall:
- fall with sequential contacts at your thigh, hip and shoulder to avoid using your arms to protect against breakage
- roll with the fall; try to twist and roll backwards rather than falling forward
- relax as much as possible when you begin to fall
- bend your back and head forward so you won’t slam your head on the pavement as your feet shoot out from under you
- toss the load you are carrying to protect yourself instead of the objects being carried