Activities Safeguards for Ice, Snow Slips and Falls

Identify and deal with high-risk activities

Walking on ice

  • Don't walk on ice unless you have to
  • Allow extra time for your journey
  • If you must walk on ice/ snow slow down, bend your knees slightly and take shorter strides or shuffle
  • Keep hands free and out of pockets
  • Consider warm gloves to allow people to walk with their hands out of their pockets
  • Exercise extreme caution if carrying loads
  • Use handrails or other aids where provided

The Napo animated video "Cold case" (59 seconds) shows the hazard ice formed at a leaking pipe

This video (49 seconds) shows an animated slip on ice followed by gritting of the icy area

This video shows 8 minutes of people falling over the same patch of ice

Footwear for ice (and snow)

  • Some effective slip resistant footwear may provide slip resistance on some types of ice
  • Carefully consider the use of the coil or chain type ice grips 
    • One study found "Slips were more frequent when wearing the metal coils"
    • Another study advises "Chains attached to shoes have been found to be dangerous on smooth ice"
  • Ice grippers, such as spikes or studs, may be an effective solution on ice
  • Avoid footwear that readily accumulates snow or ice around the ice gripping devices, where it can become compacted
  • Avoid footwear or ice grippers where the tread pattern readily becomes clogged with snow or ice

Ice gripper spikes

  • Ice grippers can be slippery on smooth surfaces such as stone, tile and ceramic and must be removed on these surfaces
  • If using footwear with retractable spikes, ensure the normal sole has the required slip resistance
  • It's important to trial footwear before use to assess the effectiveness of footwear in practice


Clearing snow and ice

"Physiotherapist awarded €1m after slip on icy steps" (January 2014) - "Three yellow 'wet floor' caution signs were also placed on one side of the steps"

  • Risk assess the process of clearing snow and ice
  • The risk assessment should include manual handling as well as slips, trip and fall issues
  • Consider footwear for snow and ice
  • Use the right tools, e.g. snow ploughs etc.
  • Try to work from surfaces that have already been cleared

Snow cleared from path

risk assessment approach to Ice and Snow slips (trips and falls) can include the following steps

  1. Weather
  2. Activities
  3. Locations
  4. Communication
  5. Sample Dynamic Risk Assessment

See Ice, Snow Further Information