Slip and falls in the winter are incredibly common. Usual slip and fall injuries include sprained ankles and wrists, broken bones, damage to knees, shoulder dislocations, spine and nerve damage, and brain injuries. The more severe outcomes can severely alter a person’s lifestyle and impact quality of life, which is why it’s smart to try to avoid a slip and fall in the first place.
Approximately 12% of all falls are because of slipping. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), there were 67,418 hospital emergency department visits in Canada due to accidental falls on ice in 2019. Alberta actually leads the country for slip and fall insurance claims (in 2017 $337 million was paid out), which is why we highly recommend everyone check their snow removal insurance company’s insurance coverage. If they are not properly covered, you could be held liable for injuries on your property.
At Mirage Landscaping, we guarantee to remove your snow down to the bare pavement and leave your property without any slip and fallhazards. We are snow removal experts who deeply care about the quality of our work and the satisfaction of our clients.
Walk like a penguin
A bad slip and fall can be devastating. Alberta Health Services advises that when sidewalks are slippery, the best thing to do is walk like a penguin. Bend forward slightly, angle your feet outwards, and keep your legs apart. Walk flat-footed rather than heel to toe, and take shorter, shuffling-type steps. It may not look graceful, or even very co-ordinated, but it will help you to keep your centre of gravity over top of your feet as much as possible. Concentrate on staying upright, watch where you step, and don’t rush. Always keep your hands out of your pockets and away from your body to help improve your balance. That means wearing gloves or mittens to keep your hands warm! If you have to carry a lot of stuff, a backpack is a great idea.
Protect yourself in a fall
Sometimes a slip and fall is unavoidable. If you feel yourself going down, there are a few ways you can minimize your chances of really hurting yourself.
It sounds crazy, but if you are going to fall the best thing to do is try to relax and go with it. Stiffening up and panicking will almost definitely make the fall worse. Allow your knees to relax to try to get closer to the ground. This decreases the distance you will fall, which will assist in reducing impact.
Most importantly, do not straighten arms out to break your fall. This can easily result in a broken wrist. Again, you need to keep your hands out of your pockets when walking on a slippery surface to help with your balance, but you shouldn’t rely on them. Fold your arms in to your chest and try to turn your body so that you fall on your side. This spreads the impact over a larger area of your body, which in turn reduces the chance of a major injury.
Choose the right boots
Proper boots are essential for helping to avoid a slip and fall. Recently, the CBC tested several different types of boots, focusing on some of the more major brands in Canada. A walker wearing Merrell, Sorel, Kamik, Ugg, Timberland and WindRiver boots went through a footwear slip test on an ice-covered surface where hydraulics were used to slowly tilt the floor to simulate going both up and downhill.
The winner of the challenge turned out to the the WindRiver boot, available at Marks Work Warehouse, with the other five options actually not performing well at all. The tester was able to walk on an incline of 15 degrees – which is higher than most sidewalk grades – and downhill at an angle of 14 degrees without slipping. The reason is the WindRiver boot’s tread, which mixes in abrasive materials with a soft rubber compound to provide the ultimate traction. The soles feel something like sandpaper, and grabs on tightly to snow and ice.
Be very careful when shoveling
It’s very, very easy to injure yourself when shoveling. The right technique is essential for snow removal … without it, muscle and back injuries are common. We highly recommend a professional snow removal company, as we have the people, the tools, and the expertise to get it done right.
If you are taking on your shoveling duties yourself, we’re here for you.
- Keep a lower profile, and try to concentrate your balance in your body’s central core
- Use your legs, not your back, when lifting a full shovel
- Plant your legs and pivot when emptying a shovelful of snow into a pile; don’t twist your body using your back
- Avoid jerking or extending your arms when emptying your shovel
Also remember to always shovel with the wind, and, if possible, use it to help you move the snow more efficiently.
Hire a professional snow removal company
Let us help you take the worry out of winter. At Mirage Landscaping, we look forward to the challenge presented by every snowstorm as we hustle to clear your sidewalks, pathways, driveways, and parking lots as quickly as possible. We always clear away snow to the bare pavement, and never leave behind ice that could be a potential hazard.
Auburn Bay, Chaparral, Chaparral Valley, Copperfield, Cranston, Douglasdale, Heritage Pointe, Lake Bonavista, Mahogany, McKenzie Lake, Mackenzie Towne, Maple Ridge, New Brighton, Odgen/Lynwood/Millican, Parkland, Riverbend, Sundance, Walden, and Willow Park.