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Friday, March 15, 2024
Last Updated

Winter weather can be beautiful, but it also brings its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to staying safe while navigating the icy terrain. Did you know that slips, trips, and falls are some of the most common injuries at Fanshawe during winter conditions?

Here are some practical tips to help you prevent these mishaps and stay safe this winter:

1. Stick to cleared walkways

Avoid taking shortcuts that haven’t been cleared of snow and ice. It may seem tempting, but it's not worth the risk. Use the safest route to and from your destination.

2. Wear appropriate footwear

Your choice of footwear can make a significant difference in preventing falls. Opt for boots or shoes with a thick, non-slip tread to help maintain traction on slippery surfaces. Additionally, look for good ankle support, a snug fit and a low, wide heel.

3. Walk like a penguin

Have you ever seen a penguin fall? Take cues from our Antarctic feathered friends by walking slowly, taking small steps, and pointing your toes slightly outwards for better stability.

4. Keep your head up

Avoid the temptation to lean forward, as this can throw off your balance. Keeping your head up helps you maintain better awareness of your surroundings, so you can be on the lookout for dangers like snow-covered ice, uneven surfaces and unsalted areas.

5. Keep hands free and avoid heavy loads

If possible, use a backpack and keep your hands free, so you can use them for balance if needed. Plus, having your hands out of your pockets can prevent injuries if you do happen to fall. Additionally, try to avoid carrying heavy items that could throw off your balance or block your view.

student walking on fanshawe campus in winter

6. Walk slowly and plan ahead

Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, and avoid rushing in slippery conditions. Planning ahead can help you avoid unnecessary risks.

7. Be cautious of wet, dark areas

Assume that any wet or dark patches on pavement may be icy. Whenever possible, walk around these areas to reduce the risk of slipping on "black ice" – a thin, sleek layer of clear ice that may be hard to see.

8. Stay informed

Download a local weather app on your phone, such as Government of Canada Weather Alerts, to stay updated on current weather conditions before heading outside.

9. Minimize distractions

Avoid texting or talking on your phone while walking, as this can divert your attention away from potential hazards. Plus, you could drop or damage your phone if you slip. Focus on walking and keep your phone tucked away safely.

10. Use handrails and stay steady

Be careful when exiting your vehicle or a building, and use fixed objects like handrails for added support, especially when navigating stairs or ramps. Additionally, try to avoid carrying anything that could throw off your balance or block your view.

Remember, your safety is paramount. By following these tips and staying vigilant, you can enjoy the winter season while minimizing the risk of accidents. Stay safe out there!

If you do experience a slip, trip or fall at Fanshawe or observe a patch of ice on a walkway, report it to the Security Control Centre at 519-452-4400 immediately.