Be on your guard for slips and falls all winter long

Midwesterners don’t have the luxury of staying inside when the temperature drops below zero or there’s a foot of fresh-fallen snow on the ground.

It’s easy to get into a routine – bundle up in your parka, boots, hat, gloves and scarf before heading out the door. This routine may protect you from the wind chill, but don’t get too comfortable. With the increased risk of slips and falls in the winter, you need to stay on your guard every time you step outside.

Snow and ice in parking lots, on driveways and sidewalks can cause severe injuries at any time throughout the long winter season, which lasts from October through April.

Each year, hundreds of workers insured by SFM report slipping and falling because of snow and ice – it’s one of the most common causes of injuries.

Chart showing share of slip-and-fall claims due to ice and snow by month for 2013-2017

Keep outdoor safety in mind

Injuries come with the first snowfall, peak when winter weather is at its worst, and continue into spring.

When the first severe weather arrives in October or November, people may exercise more caution when walking and driving. These same precautions need to be taken throughout winter.

A new risk emerges as winter winds down. More slip-and-fall injuries are reported in March and April than October and November. That’s when warmer days and colder nights cause the snow to melt and then refreeze. This can create dangerous icy patches on sidewalks and in parking lots. The ice can catch some people by surprise because the temperature is rising.

Share the winter safety message

To keep your workers from getting too comfortable and letting their guard down, it’s important to keep reminding them about winter safety. They can’t hear the safety message too many times. That’s why SFM offers so many different winter safety resources with unique messages to motivate employees to take it slow in the snow. See our winter safety materials.

And, of course, these numbers reflect only the slip-and-fall injuries caused by ice or snow. People can slip, trip or fall all year round, even indoors and in stairwells. We have safety materials for that as well.

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