“Falls are consistently a leading cause of injury at Penn State and a substantial number of these cases occur during the winter months due to snow and ice accumulation,” said Mark Linsenbigler, occupational health and safety manager with Environmental Health and Safety. “Physical plant and facilities personnel have a comprehensive system in place to make sure campuses are cleared of snow and ice as quickly as possible, but we need all Penn Staters to exercise caution in order to reduce the potential for injury.”
Linsenbigler offered the following tips for pedestrians:
- Wear appropriate footwear for winter conditions. Substantial shoes with lugs or ridged soles are ideal.
- Be careful when getting into and out of vehicles. The first step outside of a vehicle can sometimes be the most hazardous. Use the vehicle for support and have both feet firmly planted before you stand.
- Walk slowly and deliberately during winter weather. Take small steps and keep your feet shoulder-width apart to increase stability.
- Stay in designated walkways when traveling between buildings or to parking lots.
- Always use handrails that are provided for steps and inclined surfaces.
- Remove snow from your shoes immediately after entering buildings. Serious falls can occur on wet interior surfaces after snow has been tracked in.
Linsenbigler also strongly encourages students, staff, faculty and visitors to report any hazardous ice or snow conditions to appropriate contacts at each campus.
“Prompt reporting helps us to proactively address weather-related risks and better protect all members of the University community,” Linsenbigler said.
At the University Park campus, people should call the Office of Physical Plant work reception center at 814-865-4731. At Commonwealth Campuses, people should contact their physical plant and facilities departments.