Slip and Fall Prevention: Starts with the Right Shoes
By Kevin Bartsch, MSGIA Assistant Director Workers’ Compensation Pool Operations
As we settle into winter, we are reminded that during these long, cold months, 60% of slip/fall accidents occur when walking from our vehicles to the various buildings. Not surprisingly, we typically see a dramatic increase in the incidence rate for slip-and-fall events related to ice and snow. Thus far, this winter is shaping up to be no different than recent ones. Mindful of the pattern and predictable problems pertaining to it, we at MSGIA wish to remind all members of the importance of thinking ahead in order to avoid becoming a part of the slip-and-fall accident increase group.
This proactive thinking starts with a look out the window as you prepare for your day. Did it snow during the night? Is there ice that has accumulated? If the answer to either of these questions is “Yes,” your next thought should focus on the type of footwear you are going to choose for your day, or at least what you will wear while getting to your workspace before you change your shoes.
When choosing proper footwear, the function should always take priority over style. Shoes or boots with laces that allow you to adjust snugness are a good choice. Shoes or boots should include a wide sole; heels should be low and wide, and the sole of the footwear should have a good gripping surface. Finally, make certain your footwear is in good overall condition and not overly worn. And, of course, on snowy days, high or spiked heels should be avoided.
While slip-and-fall prevention STARTS with the right shoes, there are additional considerations consider in order to arrive safely to your workspace. Those items include:
- Parking – Where am I going to park?
- Pathway – Is there a clear pathway to school?
- Purchase – When exiting your car, secure 3 points of contact – the steering wheel, the door handle, and the ground – in order to get a good purchase for your first step so that you can safely get on your way.
- Paying attention – When going into your work area, pay full attention to the task of getting from point A to point B safely, and wait until you are safely to your work area before you start thinking about the day’s activities.
- Hands-free – Keep your hands as free from materials as possible and don’t overload your arms.
- Center of Gravity – If it’s slick, keep a wide base and lower your center of gravity. It’s not a very stylish way to walk, but it’s much more stylish than an ambulance ride!
- Sneak if you must – Take short steps and keep your weight and center of gravity over your feet. Again, it may look a little different, maybe even strange; but, if you do it well, nobody will even see you coming or going. And, besides, it beats lying on your back in a parking lot looking up at students and fellow staff who feel awkward for you.
MSGIA recognizes the importance of all staff members, and for this reason, we wish to stress that workplace safety is a top priority and that ensuring members are safe begins with getting to work unharmed and happy. We want everyone to have a successful injury-free winter.
If you have questions or additional suggestions regarding injury prevention issues with, please contact the following individuals:
Kevin Bartsch, MSGIA Assistant Director of Workers’ Compensation Pool Operations
Harry Cheff, Certified School Risk Manager
Annette Satterley, Certified School Risk Manager
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