Slips, trips and falls are the most common types of accident in life generally and, thankfully, the consequences of many falls on snow or ice are simply minor bumps and bruises.
In previous years, however, thousands of people have been admitted to hospital after suffering more serious injuries after falls during wintry weather.
Last year there were 21 fatalities from slips, trips and falls and over 10,000 major injuries reported across the UK. Below is some clear advice from Cordant Group SHEQ Director, Mark Elton, on how to avoid injury especially throughout the winter months.
Advice for people during times when pavements and footpaths are covered in snow/ice:
• Wear sturdy footwear, with a good grip - you can always change into other footwear when you have reached your destination
• If you've got Nordic walking poles (or similar), use them
• Take it slowly and allow yourself extra time to get from A to B, so you don't find yourself having to make a last minute dash to get to the bus etc.
• Keep an eye on what is underfoot. Some places will remain icy for longer than others (e.g. places that do not get the sun)
• If you have neighbours who are elderly/disabled/new mums etc. offer to pop to the shops for them
• If councils have provided grit bins so people can treat public areas not included on the usual gritter route, use them - but don't remove vast quantities for your own personal use.
• If you do decide to go out when there's snow and ice about, take time to think what you can do to reduce the risk of a fall
• Where possible, plan a safe route to where you are going, so as to avoid slopes, steps and areas that have not been cleared or gritted
• Don't take short cuts through areas where the slipping hazards are greater
• Wear proper footwear for better traction on slippery surfaces
• Consider using a stick or better still, a walking pole and take slow, small steps. Try not to hurry and give yourself more time to get from A to B so you do not rush
• Use rails or other stable objects that you can hold on to
• If possible, wear extra layers to protect the more vulnerable parts of your body like your head, neck and spine if you do fall
• Wipe your feet well when entering buildings
• In public places, always report unsafe conditions so other people do not get hurt
Remember, as well as slips and trips on pavements and in public places, many people fall over on their own footpaths and driveways. Take care in these places too.