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Avoid slipping your way to a winter accident

January 2009 -- When we drag water and ice into the office on our feet and clothing, the danger of slipping and falling increases. It's one of the special safety hazards of winter and inclement weather - but also one that is easily preventable with awareness and foresight. Here are a few tips to help you avoid this common winter safety risk.

First, be prepared: watch the local weather news. If you will be traveling, check out a national forecast to make sure you have the clothing and proper footwear for the weather where you are going. Knowing what to expect is essential for proper preparation.

To cut down the risk of slipping on wet indoor surfaces:
· Shorten your stride to maintain your center of balance.
· Walk with your feet pointed slightly outward, creating a stable base.
· Make wide turns at corners.
· Post signs to warn of wet areas.
· Clean up water that drips from your clothing and shoes.
· Be careful of wet shoes on a dry floor: they can be just as slippery as dry shoes on a wet floor.

You can reduce the risk of slipping outdoors in inclement weather if you:
· Slow down to give yourself time to react to a change in traction.
· Wear slip-resistant shoes or over-shoes, and carry your work shoes.
· Wear sunglasses when outdoors in ice and snow to help you see possible hazards.

And remember: proper footwear is important. Wear slip-resistant shoes appropriate for your job. Some have special sole patterns that are specifically engineered for slippery work areas. Or, use abrasive strips to increase traction.

With a little foresight and awareness, you'll be able to avoid this common winter accident, and keep from slipping your way into the doctor's office.