Feb. 4, 2022

Prevent slips, trips and falls this winter

Here's some winter walking tips to keep you on your feet
Riley Brant, University of Calgary

With winter in full swing comes the reminder of the hazards the cold weather brings to campus. Snow and ice can present a greater risk of slipping and falling, so practise these great tips from UCalgary’s Slips, Trip and Fall Prevention Program to keep you on your feet.

Safe winter walking tips

  • Walk in designated areas. Avoid using shortcuts and self-made paths as these may be very icy and slippery.
  • Take small steps to keep your centre of balance under you.
  • Walk slowly and never run on icy ground.
  • Keep both hands free for balance, rather than in your pockets.
  • If available, use handrails from start to finish.
  • Keep your eyes on where you are going.
  • Test potentially slick areas by tapping your foot on them.
  • Step — don’t jump — from vehicles and equipment.

Walk like a penguin

When walking on slippery or potentially slippery surfaces, do the penguin shuffle:

  • Point your feet outward like a penguin.
  • Take short, shuffle-like steps.
  • Keep your arms at your side and out of your pockets.
  • Concentrate on keeping your balance.
  • Watch where you are stepping.
  • Proceed slowly.

Be winter-ready

Slips, trips and falls are preventable. Practise safe winter walking by wearing appropriate winter footwear or shoes with traction. Avoid wearing high heels outdoors and instead switch to appropriate footwear, even when walking short distances. Finally, just like you would do while driving, give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going. On main campus, most buildings are connected; if the weather is bad or the sidewalks and roads are very slippery, consider following an interior route, even if it takes a little longer.

See something, say something

UCalgary’s Facilities department works hard to keep walkways and sidewalks clear, and crews are ready to respond 24/7 during the winter months. As the weather warms and freezes, icy patches may appear as you make your way across campus. Help keep the community safe by reporting snow-covered, icy sidewalks to the Facilities Customer Care Centre by phone 403-220-7555, email myfacilities@ucalgary.ca or submit a service request online. Report injuries to Campus Security by phone: 403-220-5333 or call 911 in cases of emergency. Help keep everyone safe and report near-misses through the Online Accident Reporting System.

With everyone’s help, we can keep the campus community safe and on their feet.