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Take Care on Ice and Walk Like a Penguin

By: Kathleen Tuck   Published 4:47 pm / January 16, 2013

Winter weather, with its slippery surfaces, brings an increased risk of injury. The Office of Risk Management reminds people to walk carefully to avoid slips and falls.

Following are tips to stay safe:

  • In cold temperatures, assume that all wet, dark areas on pavements are slippery and icy and approach with caution.
  • During bad weather, avoid boots or shoes with smooth soles and heels. 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.
  • Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles; use the vehicle for support.
  • 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 an incline, may require travel along its grassy edge for traction.
  • Point your feet slightly out like a penguin. Spreading your feet slightly outward while walking on ice increases your center of gravity.
  • Bend slightly and walk flat-footed with your center of gravity directly over the heels as much as possible.
  • Extend your arms out to your sides to maintain balance.
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets. Hands in your pockets while walking decreases your center of gravity and balance. If your hands are free, you can use them to help break your fall if you do start to slip.
  • Watch where you are stepping and go S-L-O-W-L-Y.
  • Take short steps or shuffle for stability.
  • Wear a heavy, bulky coat that will cushion you 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.
  • Try to relax your muscles if you fall. You’ll injure yourself less if you are relaxed.

Source: Injured Workers Insurance Fund