Be on your guard for slips and falls all winter long

Be on your guard for slips and falls all winter long

By SFM Mutual Insurance
SFM is a Participating Insurer in the MSBAIT Risk Protection Program.

We “Midwesterners” often don’t have the luxury of staying inside when the temperature drops below zero or there’s a foot of fresh-fallen snow on the ground – and school district employees are typically no different.

It’s easy to get into a routine – bundle up in your parka, boots, hat, gloves, and scarf – before heading out the door. This routine may protect you from the wind chill, but don’t get too comfortable. With the increased risk of slips and falls throughout the entire winter, you need to stay on your guard every time you step outside.

In particular, snow and ice in school district parking lots, on driveways and sidewalks, and from melt in entryways and hallways, can cause severe injuries at any time throughout our long “winter” season – which we know certainly includes all of this current month of February, most of March, and sometimes (it seems) even April.

Unfortunately, each year, hundreds of claims from school districts and their workers are reported to SFM due to slipping and falling because of snow and ice. Statistically, it’s one of the most common causes of injuries.

Keep outdoor safety in mind

Injuries come with the first snowfall, peak when winter weather is at its worst, and continue into spring.

When the first severe weather arrives in October or November, people may exercise more caution when walking and driving. However, these same precautions need to be taken throughout winter. We encourage school districts to continue to remind their employees about winter (and other) slip and fall risks.

Moreover, a new risk often emerges as winter winds down. Indeed, more slip and fall injuries are reported in March and April than October and November. That’s often because warmer days and colder nights cause the snow to melt and then refreeze. This process can create dangerous icy patches on sidewalks and in parking lots – and this ice can catch some people by surprise even though the temperature is rising.

Share the winter safety message

As we suggested above, to keep your school district employees from getting too comfortable and letting their guard down, it’s important to keep reminding them about winter safety. They really can’t hear this safety message too many times! That’s why SFM offers so many different winter safety resources with unique messages to motivate employees to take it slow in the snow. See our winter safety materials.

And, of course, these numbers reflect only the slip and fall injuries caused by ice or snow. People can slip, trip, or fall all year round, even indoors and in stairwells. We have safety materials for those risks as well!

For more safety, risk management, and other information from SFM, visit our website at https://www.sfmic.com.

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