Slippery surfaces: safety tips

Cold temperatures, freezing rain, repeat: it's about to get icy out there.

20 September 2021

Every October, there's an increase in slips and falls as people get used to navigating slippery surfaces again. With falls come injuries; every year, U of A staff and students report fractures and sprains related to slippery conditions. 

This season, consider these five tips to avoid slips and falls:

  1. Choose footwear that's suitable for the conditions.
  2. Keep your hands free to steady yourself. Use handrails if available.
  3. Plan your route: give yourself extra time or go indoors if possible.
  4. Avoid uneven, sloping, and metal surfaces.
  5. Walk like a penguin.

Walk like a what??

Like a penguin. They don't slip often, and that's because they adopt a wide stance, walk flat-footed, and take short steps.

Check out the Alberta Health Services video below to understand what we mean.

It's all in the sole









Find yourself slipping and sliding no matter what the conditions? It might be time to replace your footwear. Look for shoes or boots with soles made from rubber with "grit" embedded in the material (e.g. Green Diamond, Vibram Arctic Grip). Alternatively, slip some steel-studded cleats over your footwear. Learn which footwear brands pass the "walking on ice" test.

How can you help?

When it's icy out, look for ways to help others:

  • If you see a sandbox on campus, feel free to spread some sand.
  • If you're secure in your footing, help others who might be struggling.
  • Contact the Maintenance Desk if you see a particularly icy area: 780-492-4833
  • If you fall (or nearly fall), report it here so we know where problem areas are on campus
Questions? Contact