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January 12, 2021
Winter Weather Conditions Safety Tips
Winter Weather Conditions Safety Tips
Aspen Risk Management, a TRISTAR Company

In the winter, with the extreme conditions that develop on short notice, employees and employers must share the responsibility to maintain safe practices. While employers need to maintain the parking lots, walkways, and entrances to the best of their ability in rapidly changing weather, employees need to take steps to ensure that they are moving safely within these conditions.


Walking to and from parking lots or between buildings during the winter requires special attention to avoid slipping and falling. Slips and falls are some of the most frequent types of injuries that occur during the winter months. No matter how well the snow and ice are removed from parking lots and sidewalks, people will still encounter some slippery surfaces when walking outdoors in the winter. To help prevent slipping and falling, keep these important safety tips in mind.


Choosing Appropriate Clothing


It is important to dress appropriately for winter, even if one is only walking from the car to the building.  Remind employees that wearing proper attire plays a role in safely moving to and from their vehicle.


  • During bad weather, avoid boots or shoes with smooth soles and heels, such as plastic and leather soles. Instead, wear shoes or boots that provide traction on snow and ice; boots made of non-slip rubber or neoprene with grooved soles are best. If the work dress code requires dress shoes, carry them in a bag while wearing appropriate footwear for the weather.

  • Wear a heavy, bulky coat to cushion accidental falls.

  • Wear a bright scarf, hat, or reflective gear to improve visibility to drivers.

  • During the day, wear sunglasses to help reduce glare, see better, and avoid hazards.

  • Make sure to wear winter gear that do not impair one’s vision or makes it hard to hear oncoming traffic or the surrounding environment.


Walking Over Ice


In cold temperatures, approach with caution and assume that all wet or dark areas on the pavement are slippery and icy. Dew or water vapor can freeze on cold surfaces, forming an extra-thin, nearly invisible layer of ice that can look like a wet spot on the pavement.


  • Walk on designated walkways as much as possible.

  • Bending one’s knees slightly and walking flat-footed will lower the center of gravity and provide stability.

  • Keeping hands out of pockets and extending arms help to maintain balance.

  • Be aware that carrying a heavy load can effect one’s sense of equilibrium.  If one must carry a load, try to keep it small.

  • When walking on steps, always use the hand railings and plant feet firmly on each step.

  • Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles; use the vehicle for support.

  • When entering a building, assume that all tile and smooth floors can be wet and slippery and proceed cautiously.


Parking Lot Safety


Did you know that one in every five accidents occurs in a parking lot? According to the National Safety Council, accidents in the parking lot may not always be due to snow or ice, but distracted drivers, making them less aware of patches of ice. Also, a blacktop parking lot increases the risk of accidents, since ice tends to blend in with darker colors.  Given these hazards, here are some important safety tips for employers that maintain a parking lot.


  • Inspect the parking lots for potholes and cracks and get them fixed in advance to help keep icy spots at a minimum.

  • Always keep a bag of salt or other ice-melting product around so the ice can be melted immediately.

  • When the weather is extreme, place signs and cones to warn guests that blacktop might be slippery.

  • It is a good idea to identify and remove any chance of water collecting and freezing in the parking lot to reduce the risk of it becoming a skating rink, a danger for both vehicles and pedestrians.


Employees also should take steps to ensure that they are navigating parking lots safely.


  • Do not allow distractions while driving through a parking lot.

  • As a pedestrian in a parking lot, assume drivers' vision is compromised.  It could be sun glare, dirty windows from the splash-up, or blocked windows because a driver did not take the time to clear all the snow.

  • Always assume that the surface is icy and slippery and move accordingly.


For additional resources, visit:  OSHA Winter Weather, Hazards/Precautions: or contact us at 619.294.9863 or email us at and inquire about our loss control services.


Winter Weather Conditions Safety Tips
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