Don’t let the warm weather fool you – watch for black ice

Avoid slipping on black ice: watch where you walk.

Recent weather conditions have provided plenty of opportunity for the formation of black ice, a thin, transparent layer of ice on concrete or asphalt. Watch out when walking and driving on site. People have slipped in recent days.

The cold nighttime temperatures freeze water that has pooled during the daylight hours. Although much of the ice melts in the next day’s warmth, patches of ice unexposed to the sun remain behind, creating a hazard for those unaware that not all the ice has melted away.

“During this season, people really have to watch where they’re going,” said Jack MacNerland, FCC building manager. “Just because ice thaws during the day, it doesn’t mean it’s not going to refreeze during the later hours.”

To avoid slipping on black ice, follow these tips:

  • Use footwear that provides traction on snow and ice.
  • Hang onto railings or other stable objects. Use your vehicle for support when entering or exiting.
  • Use designated clear walkways or a grassy edge.
  • If you must walk on ice, take short steps or shuffle. Bend slightly and walk flat-footed with your center of gravity over your feet.
  • Be prepared to fall. If it happens, bend your back and head forward. Fall with sequential contacts at your thigh, hip and shoulder.
  • If you encounter a spot of black ice at Fermilab near a building entryway, look to see if there is sand or salt inside the door to put on it, should it need it.
  • If there is no sand or salt nearby, and if the patch of black ice is in a place of traffic—even if it is not near a building entryway—contact the building manager or your SSO to let him or her know of your concern.