Background Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) has developed a numerical weather model that simulates the level of slipperiness on the walkways. The model classifies the walkway slipperiness into three classes; normal, slippery and very slippery. Normal means that there is not ice or snow on the surface. Slippery condition means that snow and ice may exist, but the surface has relatively good grip and normal walking is possible. Very slippery walkway condition is expected if walkway is covered by ice and there is water or light snow above the ice layer. Sometimes packed snow can be very slippery, too. FMI is giving warnings if very slippery walkway condition is expected.
Description of the problem Icy and snowy walkways are very typical in Finland during winter. Slipperiness due to ice and snow on walkways increases the risk of pedestrians’ slipping injuries. Almost every second person slips annually in Finland and around 50 000 persons are injured needing medical attention. Big part of the injuries happen outside on winter time when ground is covered by ice or snow. Emergency departments are crowded during the most slippery days. Economic losses due to slip injuries are around 420 million euros yearly, that sum includes costs in health care, lost workdays and general welfare.
Results (effects/changes) There should be lots of possibilities to reduce the number of slipping injuries and costs related to injuries. FMI’s warnings about slippery pedestrian pavement condition is one way to improve the safety among the pedestrians. Pedestrians may reserve more time for travelling, choose the way of travelling or use anti-slip devices if very slippery pavement condition is forecasted.
Conclusions Slip injuries are a big problem causing economic losses and long sick leaves. FMI’s warnings about slippery walkway condition is one way to inform the predicted slipperiness and increase awareness of slipperiness among the citizens.
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