Prepare to prevent winter slips and falls

In a typical year, falls in snowy or icy conditions account for more than 20,000 workplace injuries. As we all know, 2020 was anything but a typical year. Less foot traffic last winter meant fewer slips and falls, but in the coming months experts predict that slip-and-fall incidents will be on the rise once again.

“With employees returning to their routines of entering and exiting the workplace every day, we’re expecting to see a resurgence in winter slips and falls,” said SFM Loss Prevention Technical Leader Lee Wendel. “These incidents can cause some of the most severe injuries we see, and they’re largely avoidable.”

Winter slips and falls are among the most common causes of workplace injuries. These incidents put employees at risk for serious injuries like concussions, broken bones and herniated discs. As an employer, there’s a great deal you can do to prevent these injuries at your workplace.

Parking lots pose greatest hazard

Winter slips and falls are most common in parking lots.

“Many employees aren’t thinking about the risks when they’re moving between their car and the building,” Wendel said. “Alerting workers to the dangers of slippery surfaces goes a long way to prevent serious injuries.”

Employees are especially at risk of injuries when:

  • Getting into or out of their vehicles
  • Stepping onto or off of curbs
  • Carrying too much in their arms

Encourage employees to use the “step down, not out” method when stepping out of their cars and off of curbs. For cars, swing both legs out to the side, step down flat footed with both feet, and maintain three points of contact with either the car or the ground while getting up. For curbs, step down flat footed, not heel first.

You can order or download winter slip-and fall resources including “step down, not out” and “carry only what you can” posters from the resource catalog.

Free resources to build awareness

SFM provides many resources to keep your employees aware of winter slip-and-fall risks throughout the season including posters, handouts, safety talk outlines and videos.

“As conditions change during the season, it’s important to keep reminding employees of the risks of winter slips and falls, and how to avoid them,” Wendel said.

You can find links to these resources and more information at

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