Watch out for slick and uneven surfaces

Be careful when walking on icy or snow-covered surfaces.

Even though Fermilab has a very good program for dealing with snow and ice, it is impossible to immediately clear all walking and driving surfaces. According to quarterly injury and illness reports, snow and ice accumulation on Fermilab grounds means that one or two people show up in the Medical Department with injuries resulting from slips and falls. In most cases, they are minor bumps and bruises, but they can be more serious like fractures and dislocations.

Mike Becker, manager of Fermilab’s Roads & Grounds, explains that his group’s first priority is to clear roads and parking lots. That leaves building managers initially responsible for attacking the stairs and walkways around their buildings using salt, shovels and (in some cases) snow blowers. After treating roads and parking lots, Roads & Grounds helps with clearing around buildings and responding to special requests.

Despite all of these efforts, there are bound to be slick areas. Here are some steps you can take to minimize the risks of accidents from winter weather:

  • Pay close attention to surfaces before every step you take.
  • Avoid unshoveled or ice-covered areas.
  • If you must walk on ice, take short steps, shuffle your feet, bend slightly and walk flat-footed with your center of gravity over your feet.
  • When entering or exiting a vehicle, use the vehicle for support.
  • Toss salt on nearby untreated surfaces – especially stairs and slippery surfaces.
  • Use footgear that provides traction on snow and ice. For information on footgear with traction, contact your supervisor or SSO, the Fermi Stockroom or shoe mobile.

For more examples on how to walk in winter weather, check out this video clip.

If you see icy or snowy areas that might need special attention, call Roads & Grounds for help at x3303.

–John Dawson, ES&H