Activities Safeguards for Ice (/Snow) Slips and Falls

Ice is mentioned in over 90% of ice (/snow) slips and falls

Over half of workplace ice slips and falls occurred from 6am to 11am

Many accidents involved vehicles, and exiting vehicles

Identify and deal with high-risk activities

Walking on ice

  • Avoid ice - Don't walk on ice unless you have to
  • Exercise particular caution from 6am to 11am
  • 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
  • Use handrails or other aids where provided
  • Allow extra time for your journey
  • Exercise extreme caution if carrying loads

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

Footwear for ice (and snow)

  • Some slip resistant footwear may provide slip resistance on some types of ice
    • Avoid footwear where the tread pattern readily becomes clogged with snow or ice
  • The rate my treads website provides advice on the slip-resistance of "winter footwear" and the Maximum Achievable Angle rating
  • 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
  • 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 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


  • Avoid ice - Don't drive on ice unless you have to
  • Exercise particular caution from 6am to 11am
  • Check ground conditions before exiting your vehicle - "Open the door, Check the floor"
  • Use the HSA Winter Driving Tips
  • Allow extra time for your journey
  • Follow advice from the Road Safety Authority and other official safety bodies

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

Ice slips can be an important part of Slip Risk Assessment and Prevention

risk assessment approach to ice slips and falls should consider

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

See Ice, Snow Further Information