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Gentle reminder for Trail Times readers: Snow and ice hazards for carriers

Snow and ice pose a serious hazard for carrier work-related activities. Carriers sustain serious injuries from slips and falls.
Snow and ice pose a serious hazard for carrier work-related activities.

Snow and ice pose a serious hazard for carrier work-related activities. Slipping and falling on ice may seem common and inevitable nuisance of in the winter, it may even seem comical at times; however, carriers sustain serious injuries from slips and falls. Each year a great number of carriers across the country get hurt and lose valuable work time by slipping or falling on ice and snow.

The majority of carrier slips and falls happen on sidewalks, driveways and walkways where carriers are required to travel during their routes.

Practically all injuries from slips and falls in snow and ice fall under the classification of ‘Traumatic Injuries’. These injuries range from minor bruises, cuts and abrasions to serious bone fractures, spinal cord damage and concussions. Strains, sprains and tears compromise the largest category.

Carriers can prevent these slips and falls by taking some simple precautionary measures

• Wear the appropriate footwear for cold weather conditions – Snow or hiking type boots with good tread

• Walk slowly and carefully on icy or snowy walkways. Take short, deliberate steps in which the mid-foot strikes the ground first, not the heel. The body should always be centred over the feet. This avoids slips at the heel strike phase of gait, the most common slip occurrence. Slowing the walking pace further reduces the likelihood of slipping

• Avoid areas with poor lighting, when possible

• Change direction carefully when walking on slippery surfaces

• Avoid icy areas of walkways when there is an alternate route

• Be aware that black ice can look like wet pavement

• Be especially cautious when new snow may have hidden icy patches beneath it

• Be aware that walkways or stairs at any premises could be slippery, use hand rails

• Avoid walking with your hands in your pockets; keep hands free for balance

• Be aware of changes in friction on walking surfaces (for example walking from snow to ice, from curb to road)

• Test potentially slick areas by tapping your foot on them

• Be particularly careful of slippery conditions in the morning when melt water from the previous day may be frozen

• To the extent possible, avoid climbing over snow banks and look for an alternate route

• Report any concerns, hazards, or slip, trip or fall incidents to your supervisor