Stay S.A.F.E. this Winter – Snow and Ice Removal
At Accident Fund, we focus on the safety of your employees. Part of that focus is educating you on hazards that arise in the workplace throughout the year.
In many areas of the country, we see large amounts of snowfall and ice during the winter months. In fact, not only does snow fall in many locations from November through March, it can be preceded, mixed with or followed by rain, freezing rain or sleet.
Because of this, it’s critical to have a strong snow and ice removal program in place to keep employees safer this winter and beyond. While the weather conditions that increase the slipperiness of outdoor surfaces can’t be controlled, you can take meaningful action to reduce slips and falls through careful attention to and maintenance of sidewalks, curbs and parking lots.
Sidewalks and parking lots are especially vulnerable to change in weather conditions. Some important things to remember include:
- You should ensure your sidewalks and parking lots have been constructed to be slip resistant, even when wet, and have ample drainage to prevent rainwater and ice accumulation.
- Whether you do it yourself or hire someone else to take care of it for you, ensuring proper snow removal will greatly decrease the chances of falls occurring. A strong rule of thumb, which could be altered based on the amount of snowfall, is that snow removal should be performed every four hours for as long as snow falls, and once after snow stops.
- Sufficient lighting should be in place so employees and guests can clearly see where they’re going at all times.
- Sidewalks should remain clear and unobstructed at all times.
- Sidewalks and parking lots should be free of holes, drop-offs, cracks and all other depressions and openings. If any of these conditions occur, repairs need to be made immediately.
- When sidewalks and parking lots change levels, such as with the use of a ramp, lighting and high-contrast signage and paint should be used to indicate the change in level.
- Sidewalks and parking lots should be de-iced with salt or ice-melter when necessary to control buildup. Be extra mindful of areas where the sun will melt snow and ice during the day and re-freeze at night.
These are just a few highlights of what goes into a sound plan. We know that developing a program like this might seem like a daunting task, but Accident Fund is here to help. With tools like our Snow and Ice Removal Program Guidebook, you’ll be able to create a program for your organization that will help keep your employees safer this winter.
Accident Fund is committed to providing our policyholders unrivaled WorkSafe Consulting Services and online safety materials. If you’re an Accident Fund policyholder, log on to our website at www.accidentfund.com and check out our WorkSafe ToolboxTM and other available safety tools.