Winter Slip/Fall Injuries—Are Your Employees Protected?

The winter months are more than just creeping up on usas of this weekend, they’re here. Old Man Winter will once again blow his arctic breath, creating beauty beyond words and hazards unseen. 


We’ve all heard stories, some more horrifying than others, of folks doing the dance on black or snow covered ice. Results of a slip and fall on ice can vary from minor bumps and bruises to more serious injuries including brain trauma. 


I once had a friend who had a slip and fall on ice injury that began as a hairline fracture in the upper arm. Unfortunately, her symptoms worsened into a pain so excruciating that she wanted to amputate the arm.


Slip and fall on ice injuries are more common with older people (that would be many of us!) and often have devastating consequences. A study was completed by the American Geriatrics Society in which slip and fall incidents of two groups of older people were tracked. One group wore their usual winter footwear while the other group wore ice grippers. The results, released in the June 2005 issue of the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, found that the number of slips and falls outdoors was significantly reduced in the group wearing the device.  Further, none of the falls of those wearing the grippers were serious.


One slip and fall on ice injury can cost an organization thousands of dollars in workers’ compensation costs not to mention the human suffering element. Many organizations are addressing the risk by implementing Ice Gripper Programs and offering gait stabilizing devices (ice grippers/cleats) to employees with the greatest slip/fall risks during work hours, such as those that work in the community or run errands for the organization.


Many local businesses, as well as on-line vendors, sell a wide range of types and styles of gait stabilizing devices. The average cost of a good pair of ice grippers is about $20, a very small investment to protect the health and well being of your employees.     


If my friend had been wearing ice grippers would she have fallen? Maybe, but it would have been less likely. The bottom line is she wasn’t wearing grippers - she did fall, and the results have tragically impacted her work and family life.   


Are you prepared to protect your employees from slip and fall on ice injuries?