When it comes to winter time, many people think of the holidays and the magical atmosphere that accompanies snow. For others, it is an inconvenience that needs to cease as quickly as possible. One thing that we can all agree on is that slipping and falling is no fun, at least for you. Now watching others do it is another story. As long as no one gets seriously injured we can all sit back, enjoy the show, and thank the gods of winter for video cameras.
On January 4, 2017, Doctors in Germany prescribed a strategy to avoid slipping on ice: walk like a penguin. Imagine all your employees waddling back and forth like a rookery of penguins! This is not exactly what the German trauma surgeons meant. The technique involves leaning forward so that a person’s center of gravity is on the front leg rather than divided evenly between both legs. “When humans walk normally, body weight is split almost evenly over both legs, which the surgeons say increases the risk of a person losing their balance and falling on slippery surfaces.” It’s a comical visual; however, slipping on ice is a serious workplace concern during icy and cold conditions.
SLIP AND FALL STATISTICS
Falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits, representing the leading cause of visits (21.3%). Slips and falls account for over 1 million visits, or 12% of total falls.
Fall fatalities are nearly equally divided between men and women. However, more women will experience a slip-and-fall accident. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls accounted for 5% of the job-related fatalities for women compared to 11% for men.
Fractures are the most serious consequences of falls and occur in 5% of all people who fall.
Slips and falls do not constitute a primary cause of fatal occupational injuries, but represent the primary cause of lost days from work.
Slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and are the leading cause of occupational injury for people aged 55 years and older.
While snow shoveling can be good exercise, it can also be dangerous for the optimistic shoveler who takes on more than he/she should. Shoveling snow is extremely strenuous, especially for those individuals who do not engage in regular cardiovascular activity. According to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 11,000 people seek shoveling-related hospital treatment each year for injuries (93%) or cardiac issues (7%). Here are some tips from the National Safety Council for safe snow shoveling:
Individuals over the age of 40 and/or those who are relatively inactive, should be especially careful.
If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel without a doctor’s permission.
Avoid shoveling after eating or while smoking.
Take it slow! Shoveling (like lifting weights) can raise your heart rate and blood pressure dramatically; so pace yourself. Stretch out and warm up to prepare your body before taking on the task.
Shovel only fresh snow. Freshly fallen, powdery snow is easier to shovel than the wet, packed-down old snow.
Push the snow as you shovel. It’s easier on your back than lifting the snow out of the way.
Don’t pick up too much at once. Use a small shovel, or fill only one-fourth or one- half of a large one.
Use proper technique. Lift with your legs bent, not your back. Keep your back straight. By bending and “sitting” into the movement, you’ll keep your spine upright and less stressed. The strongest muscles in your body (your shoulders, torso and thighs) can do the work for you.
Do not work to the point of exhaustion. If you run out of breath, take a break. If you feel tightness in your chest, stop immediately.
POWERBLANKET CREATED SUMMERSTEP
Removing ice and snow regularly to prevent slipping on ice can be a full-time job depending on the weather. To save time, energy, and your employees health, use Summerstep heated safety mats to keep the walkways on your construction site clear and avoid snow shoveling.
Summerstep Snow Melting Mats
Prevent slipping on ice and falls
Protect personnel from winter weather conditions and keep stairs, doorways, walkways, and ramps free from snow and ice
More convenient than shoveling snow
Avoid health risks associated with snow shoveling
More effective for snow and ice melting than harsh chemicals (less damaging to the environment, reusable, won’t damage concrete or other flooring surfaces)
Will melt approximately 2 inches of snow per hour when operating
40 Watts/Sq ft heated area
The ONLY snow melting mat product made in the USA
“Quick Facts.” National Floor Safety Institute. 6 January 2017. https://nfsi.org/nfsi-research/quick-facts/
“Snow Shoveling”. National Safety Council. 6 January 2017. www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments_Corporate/SafetyObservancesDocuments/Snow-Shoveling.pdf
“Snow Shoveling—A Real Risk for Heart Attack”. Cleveland Clinic. 6 January 2017. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/02/snow-shoveling-a-real-risk-for-heart-attack/
“Walk like a penguin to avoid slipping on ice, German doctors advise”. Reuters in Berlin. 6 January 2017. www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/04/penguin-walk-german-doctors-advice-slipping-icy-paths