Access ramp walking assistance (C) DanieL FriedmanSnow & Ice Removal from Walking Surfaces
Approaches to reducing or removing snow & ice from ramps, stairs & walkways

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Snow & ice fall hazards on exterior stairs, ramps, walkways, & snow & ice removal methods: examples of methods fdor clearing snow and ice from exterior walking surfaces are given followed by research citations on snow & ice contribution to exterior falls on ramps, stairs & walkways.

This article series describes common causes of & cures for slippery walking surfaces on stairs and walkways. We include ramp, stair and walkway maintenance suggestions to reduce slip, trip and fall hazards due to water, algae, snow, ice, etc.

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How to Reduce Snow & Ice Slip & Fall Hazards on Ramps, Stairs & Walks

Ramp & ramp guardrails (C) Daniel Friedman 2013

Besides the obvious requirements for properly constructed ramps, guardrails, hand-railings, and stairways themselves, building owners & managers use a variety of methods to reduce the falling hazards from snow and ice on ramps, stairs, and walkways, including at least these:

Developments on construction of heated surfaces to melt snow & ice from outdoor walking surfaces include both built-in radiant heating systems in outdoor drives, walks, and stairs and electrically-heated mats or walkways that can be placed on stairs and walkways.

Clear Path snow & ice melting system - 2014

Add-on heated walking surfaces: several companies listed below provide systems for add-on electrically heated mats or walking surfaces that can be place on outdoor stairs, ramps, or walkways likely to otherwise accumiulate slippery snow and ice.

Research Confirms that Snow & Ice on Exterior Ramps, Stairs, or Walks is a Serious Fall & Injury Hazard

Icy wooden stair treads (C) 2013 Daniel Friedman Paul Galow

Failure to keep exterior walking surfaces free of ice and snow is discussed extensively in literature on fall hazards in climates where freezing conditions occur. Some particularly helpful research citations on snow and ice slip trip and fall hazards are given just below.

At SNOW & ICE on WALKING SURFACES we include data on the slipperiness of ice and snow covered surfaces including the static coefficient of friction used to measure just how slippery such surfaces are.

You'll see that water on ice is extremely slippery as is "black ice" on surfaces.

Snow and ice may cause or contribute to very serious falls and falls that may be witnessed by more people - as the walker is outdoors - than indoor slips, trips and falls that may occur where the field of view for second-party observers is more limited.

Snow covered exterior stairway (C) Daniel Friedman

However, among these research citations, Strandberg et als. offers data making clear that claims of injury statistics related to falls in which snow and ice played a key role is smaller than that claimed by some of the de-icing industry product manufacturers.

Research on Slip & Fall Hazards Involving Ice or Snow

Most falls occur indoors while only about 13-15% of fall injuries cite snow and ice as a factor.

Sheldon (1960) found up to 50% of falls they studied involved ice and snow, and El Faizy notes further that snow and ice factors have been omitted on some surveys of home fall inury studies! - Sheldon (1960), Sjörgen (1991), Strandberg (1981), El-Faizy (1994).


Continue reading at RAMP SLIP TRIP FALL HAZARDS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

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