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Slips, trips and falls accounted for 450,540 work injuries, and 865 were work-related fatalities in 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, slips, trips and falls make up 11 percent of the total incidents reported.

During icy, snowy or generally wet conditions, the incidence of injuries due to slips and falls increases. Many of these can be mitigated by keeping a few things in mind.

Wilson Library in the snow

Select Appropriate Footwear Based on the Environmental Factors

Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) recommends that if less weather-appropriate footwear is needed for work, then the footwear should be carried with the employee while traveling to the office. Also, remember to wipe your shoes off when entering a building to prevent creating a hazard from wet shoes indoors.

Attentiveness

Avoid slippery surfaces or any hazards you come across. Take a route around obvious hazards and concentrate on the path ahead. Always take your time and proceed with caution when the situation demands it. Make sure to be aware of any steps, curbs or general changes in elevation while moving through the elements. Also, avoid using your cell phone when walking around campus to help maintain focus on the move.

Utilize Resources

Utilize handrails when possible and maintain three points of contact when entering and exiting vehicles. If you need to carry large or cumbersome items, wait for safer weather and utilize tools or moving equipment. UNC-Chapel Hill also has a moving crew that can be scheduled to help departments with moving items. If you need to get across campus, utilize public transportation to help mitigate hazards from the weather.

Reporting Hazards

Take time to report any hazards found on campus, such as missing bricks in walkways and/or damaged stairs, or call the EHS office at 919-962-5507.

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