Industrial Supply Blog

Ice Grips or Ice Melt: Which Is The Better Traction Solution?

Nov 6, 2018 11:35:22 AM

Finally, it’s quitting time. You’re cold, dirty and wet from a hard day’s work. It’s been a long one and you just want to get home. As you’re walking across the parking lot, thinking about the hot supper that’s waiting for you, it happens. You slip and fall right on your bum. Embarrassed, you frantically look around to make sure nobody saw. Not so lucky. There’s a few kids across the way pointing and laughing. There’s one good thing, at least you didn’t get hurt.  Sound Familiar?

Falling on ice is not uncommon. If you live in a colder climate, then you’ve probably experienced a fall or two in your time. Maybe you didn’t fall completely to the ground, but were able to catch yourself instead


Or maybe you weren’t so lucky, and you did fall and get hurt.

Slips, trips and falls are one of the most common causes of workplace injuries.

Going into the winter months, it’s important to take a closer look at how you can prevent these types of incidents. There are two popular choices that have been known to reduce the amount of workplace slips, trips and falls.

  1. Wearing Ice Grips for Shoes
  2. Using Ice Melt Products

So which of these is best suited for your workplace? It’s likely a combination of both.



Ice Grips for Shoes

Ice grips, or ice cleats, have always been a popular option for outdoor workers. They provide you with extra traction when walking across icy surfaces. Ice grips do an excellent job of preventing slip and fall incidents.

But, workers who wear shoe spikes for ice have a common complaint. Sometimes, the ice grips meant to keep them upright have actually caused slips, too!

Seems a bit contradictory, right? Well, the truth is that in certain situations ice grips can be more hazardous than helpful.

For instance, ice grips are not meant to be worn indoors. Why? There are steel studs on the bottom of the grips. And, while those studs are designed to keep you safe on ice, they create hazards indoors.

For this reason, ice grips should not be used when walking across smooth surfaces. Avoid areas that have tile, ceramic, linoleum, sealed concrete and epoxy floors. Also, be mindful of outdoor areas that might have things like sheet metal buried under the snow.

Another location where ice grips or ice cleats can be dangerous is on staircases and mobile equipment. Again, it’s the smooth metal surfaces that create a hazard. Remember to remove the ice grips when climbing ladders and getting in and out of mobile equipment.

With all of that said, ice grips for shoes can be a highly useful piece of winter workwear. Just be mindful of their limitations.

If you spend a significant amount of time working outdoors, then ice grips are a great way to help you avoid slipping on ice.



Using Ice Melt Products

Ice melt products help to prevent the build up of snow and ice. Often, you’ll see businesses and public buildings sprinkle ice melt products on their sidewalks and in front of the main entrances. 

Ice-Melt-GifIce melt products help to prevent the build up of snow and ice. Often, you’ll see businesses and public buildings sprinkle ice melt products on their sidewalks and in front of the main entrances. 

Ice melt should be used in the same capacity at work.

For construction workers and anyone in the oil and gas industry, using ice melt products can be more of a challenge. There aren’t a lot of sidewalks or building entrances. The landscape is constantly changing.

So, where can you use ice melt in these industries?

Keep some ice melt on hand at each of your job trailers. You should also have some ready to go by your tool storage sheds, restrooms and other frequently accessed areas.

Parking lots should use a combination of sand and salt for optimal protection.

The bottom line here, is to make sure you are keeping major walkways and frequently accessed areas well maintained. Of course, these same areas should be shoveled and plowed on a regular basis, too.




Increase Your Safety with Ice Grips and Ice Melt

Far too many people are injured every year due to slipping on ice. Let’s look at some shocking statistics:

  • According to the National Safety Council, over 40,000 construction and manufacturing workers were injured from falls in 2013. Thousands of workers from other injuries also experienced falls.
  • The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reported 42,480 workplace injuries in 2014 due to ice, sleet or snow. These injuries all resulted in at least one day of lost time from work. Injuries varied from cuts and bruises, to sprain and strains, and in some cases broken bones.
  • The BLS reports that 82% of these injuries were due to falls on the same level. Others resulted from transportation incidents or struck-by hazards from objects and equipment.

As you can see, slip hazards are very common in the workplace. Even if you’ve been fortunate enough to have never slipped on ice before, you probably know someone in your industry who has.

Think about how a fall injury could impact you. You might have to seek medical treatment. You might have to take time off work. These are all things that you’d rather avoid.

So, take a closer look at your work environment and determine what the best solutions are for you. Reduce your risk by wearing ice grips for shoes and by maintaining walkways with ice melt.


While you’re at it, check out our Winter Workwear Catalog. Stay warm and stay safe!


Topics: winter work wear, cold weather

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