Cover Story

Winter Walking Safety

Winter months present different challenges for employ­ees entering and exiting their vehicles and while delivering mail. You can reduce your chances of being injured if you know how to walk properly in inclement weather. Here are some tips on how to make your winter walk a safe one:

Use Proper Footwear

n Proper footwear is essential for safe walking on slip­pery surfaces. When walking on snow or ice:

n Always wear rubbers or boots with a distinct tread or concentric circles on the sole.

n Never wear shoes with leather soles.

n Never wear overshoes with smooth soles or worn tread.

n Using footwear with smooth soles or worn tread is dangerous. In most cases, it’s worse than not wear­ing overshoes at all. Smooth material cannot main­tain traction on slippery streets and walkways. The worn tread increases the possibility of a fall.

Use Handrails

n Where possible, use handrails or other stable sup­ports, especially when going up and down steps.

n Under icy conditions, the best preventive measure is to avoid steps that have not been cleared. When you do encounter steps that are not properly cleared:

n Notify your supervisor of uncleared steps.

n Your supervisor will notify the owner and may withhold street delivery of the mail until the condi­tion is corrected.

Walk With Care

n Make sure your walking habits suit weather condi­tions:

n Finger mail where safe to do so and conditions permit.

n Scan the area ahead of you.

n Try to avoid snowy areas that may conceal icy patches.

n If you must walk on slippery or uncleared areas, take short steps, sliding your feet in a drag-and-shove fashion. Keep your weight forward and toes pointed outward to help maintain your balance.

n Avoid wet leaves and mud slicks.

n Be cautious when walking on powdered snow on painted surfaces, such as steps and porches. The granular snow reduces foot-surface contact, making the area slippery and dangerous.

n Take extra precautions when entering and exiting your vehicle.