In light of the changing seasons, its time to renew the focus on preventing falls within our industry. These incidents have historically led to an increase in injuries. Unsurprisingly, the risk of injuries from falls from falls becomes more pronounced when ice and snow create slippery and uneven conditions.
This table above captures data from the year 2022 for the injury event “Fall to floors, walkways or other surface” for occupation “transport truck drivers” in all three WCB trucking industry codes. Total claims are in light blue; time loss claims are in orange. As you can see, the highest number of claims – both total claims and time loss claims – for this type of injury are the winter months, December through March.
So, what can be done to lessen or, better yet, prevent these types of injuries?
- Always maintain three points of contact when entering or exiting equipment. This means always having two hands and one foot (or two feet and one hand) on the equipment. This practice becomes even more critical in winter, as icy surfaces increase the likelihood of slips and falls.
- Face equipment while mounting or dismounting. This approach not only enhances visibility but also reduces the risk of unexpected slips and falls on winter surfaces. Use the manufacturer’s designated handhold and footholds, including steps, running boards, traction strips, and handgrips. These features are purposefully crafted to facilitate safe mounting and dismounting, particularly in winter conditions. Avoid using makeshift options like wheel hubs or door handles.
- Pay extra attention to winter ground conditions. Check for ice patches, snow-covered obstacles, or uneven surfaces before stepping onto them. Taking a moment to assess the surroundings can significantly contribute to accident prevention during winter.
- Winter safety is a collective effort. If you identify a winter hazard or unsafe condition, communicate it to your colleagues and supervisors. Sharing information is vital to maintaining a safe work environment during the winter season.
- Equip yourself with appropriate winter gear, including footwear with enhanced traction. This small but significant step ensures you have the necessary grip to navigate winter surfaces safely.
As we navigate the challenges of winter, adopting these guidelines becomes paramount. Let’s collectively prioritize safety to ensure everyone returns home unharmed at the end of each winter workday.
Do you need more information? RPM can help!
Explore RPM’s 3-hour online, self-led course, Slips, Trips, Falls, Sprains and Strains, which focuses on this key issue. Learn about the connection to sprains and strains and gain practical insights applicable to your workplace and daily life. Understand legislative requirements and acquire strategies to enhance safety. Designed for workers, supervisors, and Workplace Safety and Health Committee members, this course provides knowledge to proactively address potential hazards and contribute to a safer work environment.
Please note RPM courses are offered to RPM registered companies only. Your company must be registered with RPM and be in the process of working towards certification or must have achieved the SAFE Work Manitoba Trucking Certificate of Recognition. Not yet registered in the RPM program? Today is a great day to get started!
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