Advice for Walking on Snow and Ice

Snow on ground

As we draw deeper into winter we are possibly going to be faced with the unpleasant task of attempting to stay upright whilst walking on snow and ice. Many home care workers walk their care rounds and the elderly and less able-bodied people we care for are particularly vulnerable to falls when snow and ice are on the ground. So below are some useful tips to read and pass on:

  • Concentrate on walking, do not use your mobile phone or read directions whilst on the go – keep a constant look out for icy patches.
  • Wear sturdy shoes with a non-slippery sole (avoid a leather sole) trainers or walking boots are best for gripping. Ice grips that are worn over shoes can also be very helpful and worth considering if you are doing a lot of walking in these conditions.
  • Walk slowly and purposefully, putting your weigh flatly and firmly down in front of you as you go. Do not run for any reason.
  • Take short steps, not long strides and lean very slightly forward rather than walking erect.
  • Do not put your hands in your pockets, keep your arms extended and slightly out for balance (a bit like a penguin and they should know how to walk in snow!). Wear gloves which will keep your hands warm discouraging you from putting them in your pockets but will also offer you protection should you fall.
  • Try to avoid carrying bags if you can particularly over one shoulder which will alter your balance.
  • If you do fall, try and relax your body and ‘roll into’ the fall if possible. If you fall backwards tuck your chin into your chest to avoid banging your head full onto the floor.
  • For older people it is worth considering hip protectors as fractures to this area are very common, although in reality a bulky, padded overcoat will offer reasonable protection as well.

There is a very good reason why weather forecasters advise us against making journeys when it is snowy and icy – it is dangerous – so take care out there.

Kate Lovett

Senior Trainer

Edge ServicesThe Manual Handling Training Company

 

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