Winter weather and slip, trip, fall protection

Winter is finally here and the return of snow and ice puts us all at risk of experiencing slip and fall injuries. Slip, trip and fall accidents are the second leading cause of workplace injuries for state employees, but you can play your part to ensure the campus community has a safe and productive winter, free from accidents.

The Physical Plant will do its part this winter to ensure that University buildings are accessible and everyone can move about safely. However, this alone is not enough to prevent all slips and falls. As members of the campus community we all have responsibilities in the prevention effort. You can play your part in the following ways:

  • Report any slippery conditions directly to the Physical Plant (477.2662) so they can address the concern.
  • Use designated walkways. When possible choose to walk on cleared paths, even when it requires you to travel a greater distance (e.g. cross a street at a designated crosswalk where snow has been removed rather than stepping over snow banks).
  • Wear footwear that is designed for snow, ice, and water conditions when outdoors. Get in the habit of either leaving your dress shoes at work or carrying them with you to and from work.
  • Actively look where you are placing each step when walking. Choose to avoid distractions such as reading, texting, or talking on cell phones.
  • Use salt to treat icy areas that you notice on designated walkways. If salt is not present, report the icy location to the Physical Plant (477.2662).
  • When entering and exiting vehicles, be sure to maintain a minimum three-point contact. That is keeping both hands in contact with the vehicle (e.g. steering wheel, door, or car roof) in addition to your feet directly below you to steady yourself should ice be present under your feet.
  • When arriving to your parking area, please park where snow removal has already been conducted.
  • Walk like a penguin where your path of travel has not yet been cleared or there is new snow accumulation.
  • Maintain three-point contact when taking the stairs both inside and outside buildings. This means one hand on the handrail. Stairways inside buildings can still be slippery due to snowmelt from shoes.
  • Practice the “Minnesota Stomp” when entering buildings. Stomp your feet three times to shake off the excess snow to reduce the amount of snowmelt carried into the building.

It is with sincere hope that by adopting the responsibilities listed above, you will experience a slip and injury free winter! Again, to report slippery conditions, please contact the MSUM Physical Plant at 477.2662.