Protect against ice-related falls

Winter time in Michigan creates numerous seasonal hazards for individuals, especially the risk of falling due to icy conditions.

According to Michigan’s hospital surveillance data, 60 workers were hospitalized in 2014 and 54 in 2015 after falling on the ice at work.

These numbers are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg since they do not include people with less serious injuries who were treated in emergency departments, urgent care clinics or a doctor’s office.

The numbers also do not include hospitalizations where workers’ compensation was not listed as the expected payer.

All but eight of the hospitalizations involved fractures.

Most of these hospitalizations required surgery. Individuals were in the hospital for an average of 3.3 days (range 1-12 days).

Forty-seven percent of the injured were women and 53% were men. Their average age was 51 and their ages ranged from 18-72 years.

They worked in a variety of industries, including health care, manufacturing, public administration, education, wholesale and retail trade, utilities and transportation, construction, arts and entertainment, professional and financial services, agriculture, and hotel and food services.

Safety Tips
• Keep all walkways cleared of ice and snow.
• Have de-icing products handy for hard-to-remove ice or snow.
• Make sure all walkways and passageways are clearly marked and well lighted.
• Be careful of slippery surfaces inside buildings.
• Wear slip-resistant footwear.
• Practice “safe walking” on slippery surfaces by taking slow, small steps.
• Step down, not out, from curbs.
• Avoid carrying heavy loads that may offset your balance.
• Clearly mark or barricade hazardous areas.
• Wear sunglasses on sunny days to lessen winter glare.
• Take extra precaution when entering and exiting vehicles.
(Sources: MSU Occupational & Environmental Medicine and MIOSHA Tips for Winter Workplace Safety.)