Protecting Electric Utility Workers From Winter Injuries

State of Maine report highlights the risks of slips and falls on snow and ice.

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State of Maine report highlights the risks of slips and falls on snow and ice.

Common sense suggests that on-the-job falls on snow and ice can have serious and costly consequences, but a recent study released by the state of Maine indicates just how common, and serious, those consequences can be.

"Winter ups the risk of falls on snow and ice, but that's the time when it's most critical for electric utility workers to be able to safely do their work," said Steve Couder, vice president of sales at ICEtrekkers. "We've known for a long time that falls on snow and ice cost individuals and companies time and money and that our Diamond Grip traction devices can help prevent those accidents, but the state of Maine report puts some hard numbers on the problem."

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The Maine report uses information from a Maine Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) database and focuses on an 18-month period from January 2012 through June 2013. Over that period at least 1,035 Maine employees submitted lost-time injury claims because of slips and falls on ice and snow, about 5 percent of total lost-time claims. According to the report, slip and fall injuries on ice and snow have led to more than 25,000 days of lost time in Maine each year. (The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the cost of the average slip and fall injury to be about $28,000.) The report's conclusion suggests that most efforts to alleviate the problem "are in the form of suggestions for others to follow rather than coordinated approaches involving employers, workers and others."

For those interested in offering more than suggestions, there is Diamond Grip. In seconds, Diamond Grip attaches dozens of case hardened, alloy steel grippers to the bottom of a shoe or boot. The patented six-pointed diamond beads are strung on steel aircraft cable and put hundreds of biting edges under the heel and the ball of the foot to grip the slickest ice or hardest-packed snow. Unlike spikes, Diamond Grip's design spreads the load evenly from heel to toe, eliminating uncomfortable hotspots. And the rubber sling that secures Diamond Grips to a shoe or boot never touches the walking surface, eliminating wear.

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Diamond Grips are designed for all day wear on ice and snow, are durable enough for the transition across asphalt and cement, and are easy to put on and take off for workers who have to get in and out of vehicles. Diamond Grip goes on in one smooth motion and stays on until you're ready to slip it off. The patented gripper design is self-clearing so there is no risk of icing up and losing traction, and the cleats are comfortable enough to wear all day and durable enough to last for years.

"Over the last three years, we've sold tens of thousands of pairs of Diamond Grip to utility companies, oil and gas companies, fire departments, law enforcement agencies, emergency medical technicians and industrial workers," Couder said. "Many companies require their workers to use Diamond Grips for winter work.

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"In designing ICEtrekkers, we examined all the products out there to improve on their strengths and eliminate their weaknesses. Diamond Grip is unique in that only the steel links and case hardened steel traction beads contact the ground, for maximum durability. The resilient rubber stays tough and maintains elasticity at sub-zero temperatures; just ask our users on Alaska's North Slope. You can put them on or take them off in seconds wearing winter gloves, and they grip like nothing else you can buy."

Diamond Grip cleats are available from Grainger and a variety of other safety product distributors, outdoor retailers and

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