Picture of a VIU Nanaimo campus parking lot and sidewalk that have been cleared of snow

Preventing slips and falls this winter

November 7, 2023

Tips from VIU Health and Safety Services

As temperatures get colder, VIU’s Health and Safety Services team has some tips to keep you on your feet. Snow and ice can present a greater risk of slipping and falling. Here are some best practices:

  • Wear appropriate winter footwear or shoes with traction. 
  • Consider wearing ice cleats.
  • Walk in designated areas. Avoid using shortcuts and self-made paths as these may be very icy and slippery.
  • Take small steps to keep your centre of balance under you. 
  • Walk slowly and never run on icy ground.
  • Keep both hands free for balance, rather than in your pockets.
  • If available, use handrails from start to finish. 
  • Keep your eyes on where you are going. 
  • Test potentially slick areas by tapping your foot on them. 
  • Step – don’t jump – from vehicles and equipment.

Walk like a penguin

When walking on slippery or potentially slippery surfaces, do the penguin shuffle:

  • Point your feet outward like a penguin.
  • Take short, shuffle-like steps.
  • Keep your arms at your side and out of your pockets.
  • Concentrate on keeping your balance.
  • Watch where you are stepping.
  • Proceed slowly.

Be winter-ready

Slips, trips and falls are preventable. Practice safe winter walking and wear appropriate winter footwear or shoes with traction.

  • Avoid wearing high heels outdoors and instead switch to appropriate footwear, even when walking short distances.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going.
  • If the weather is bad or the sidewalks and roads are very slippery, consider following an interior route, even if it takes a little longer.

See something, say something

VIU’s Facilities Services department works hard to keep walkways and sidewalks clear. Crews are ready to respond 24-7 during the winter months. As the weather warms and freezes, icy patches may appear as you make your way across campus. Help keep the community safe by reporting snow-covered, icy sidewalks to Facilities Services. Phone 250.740.6500, email facility@viu.ca or submit a service request online. If you need first aid, contact Campus Security by phone at 250.740.6600 or call 911 in cases of emergency. Help keep everyone safe and report injuries and near-misses through the Online Accident Reporting System.

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