Safety Tip of the Week: Winter Safety

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information about winter safety.

The time to devise a winter safety plan is long before the cold weather hits. Frequently, when people think of winter safety, they only think of snow and ice. In the Pacific Northwest, severe wind and rain storms can often be as debilitating. Flooding, mud slides, and downed trees frequently affect our ability to perform our jobs and pose the threat of accidents and injury.

Throughout this newsletter there is information to heighten your winter safety awareness and help you prepare for the dark winter months ahead. You’ll find things like: driving tips, an emergency supply checklist, and some slip, trip and fall reminders.

The most important things to keep in mind about Winter Safety is to stay informed and keep us informed.

Stay Informed:  Make sure you have access to accurate information about weather conditions before you leave your home. Our district Communications staff contacts the Public Schools Emergency System to alert all media outlets in the event of any closures or late starts as soon as we are aware of a change to school schedule. Check the OSD website, northwest TV stations and local radio stations (KGY, KXXO/MIXX) for the latest information.

Keep us Informed:  We depend on you to notify your supervisor, custodian or maintenance personnel if you see a winter hazard so we can make corrections as quickly as possible.

Winter’s cold grip is here. We all need to think about preventing weather related slips, trips and fall hazards in a proactive manner. Slippery surfaces, unrecognizable ice and frost can cause a loss of traction that can send you to the ground in a hurry and ruin more than your day.

Tips for getting to and from activities on walkways and in parking lots:

  • Wear the proper shoes and socks; perhaps hiking boots with proper tread. If you need to wear dress shoes pack them in a bag.
  • Another layer of insurance for your feet is a set of tire chains or ice cleats for your shoes and boots. Retailers sell single pairs of snow and ice spike shoe/boot covers starting at $7.
  • Whether it’s navigating your way around a bus in the dark at the transportation facility or crossing a parking lot to get to a building, slow down to observe your surroundings.
  • Minimize how much you carry. It is harder to navigate ice when you cannot see over things in your arms… and it’s harder to balance with a heavy load.
  • Park strategically. Look for an area with no incline. Evaluate your walk to the building. Follow the path made by custodians or look for the least slippery route.
  • Avoid snow pile run-off that has frozen overnight. Melting snow may look like water, but it can be an icy hazard.
  • Make sure to use the building wipe-off mats to get water and snow from your boots as you enter a building.

Be Safe!