Fuel for Thought
Slip - Sliding Away
Winter has arrived and with it comes the slipping and sliding of not just cars and trucks, but people too. Truck drivers can get in the habit of entering and exiting their vehicles without a thought to slipping and falling, but when the temperatures drop and the precipitation starts to fall, we need to be mindful of icy or just slippery steps when entering or exiting the truck. There are more slip, trip or fall injuries during the winter than other times of the year. The hazards of falling on icy or slippery surfaces doesn’t necessarily end when you reach the ground. Snow, ice, oil and diesel fuel makes for a very slippery walk to the shipper or the truck stop.
According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, in 2014 there were 42,480 workplace injuries and illnesses involving ice, sleet, or snow that required at least one day away from work to recuperate.These resulted from falls, slips or trips; overexertion and bodily reaction; transportation incidents; and contact with objects and equipment. Among these injuries and illnesses were 34,860, or 82 percent, that were due to falls on the same level (that is, not from falls from heights or through surfaces).
While falling in a parking lot can hurt your pride, it can do more damage to knees, elbows, hands and heads. One slip can also take you away from work for a period of time to recover. A little preparation and consideration for your surroundings may just keep you healthy and able to work through the winter months.
There are a lot of winter products to help lessen your chances of a fall, but common sense and slowing down when walking on slippery surfaces can help the most. Slip resistant shoes tops the list. Consider also, should you fall and not be able to get up and you are alone, frigid temperatures could quickly lead to hypothermia and frostbite. For that matter, just prolonged exposure could bring on hypothermia and frostbite even if you do not fall, so always keep and use your winter gear to stay warm. In the event of a breakdown, temperatures can drop quickly and you may not have the truck’s heater to keep you warm until help arrives.
Winter also brings with it the need for you to drink more water. Dehydration is not just a hot summer condition. Dry heat and lower humidity will pull more moisture from you than you might think. Drink plenty of water and keep hydrated.
No one plans to slip or fall, but you can plan and prepare not to.
Use grab handles when entering or exiting your truck. 3 points of contact.
Walk slowly in parking lots, carry as few items as you can to help with balance.
When walking on slippery surfaces, pay attention.
Let’s all have a safe winter, so we can enjoy next Spring.
See you down the road,