Loss of productivity, overtime for existing employees, and increased workers’ compensation costs are just a few of the negative impacts from slips and falls. This doesn’t even include the detrimental effects on the injured employees’ lives. To avoid these costs, facility and property managers must do everything they can to eliminate hazards and generate winter safety awareness among building occupants. Follow these steps to prepare for winter weather both inside and outside.
- Discuss expectations with your maintenance staff or snow removal vendor. Make it clear you expect snow and ice accumulation to be removed quickly and have surface treatments applied to melt icy spots. Discuss which entrances should be cleared first, how often snow removal should occur, and who is responsible for each task. Develop an accountability plan with your vendor to deal with staffing problems and poor workmanship. Request that your vendor supply you with a copy of the checklist given to staff which outlines the most important aspects of the services provided.
- Spot check for hazards. Identify potholes and cracks that may cause issues in inclement weather and arrange for repairs. Check that drain pipes, grate covers and catch basins are not clogged with debris which can cause water from melting snow and ice to back up onto sidewalks and refreeze. Make sure lighting systems in all exterior areas are working properly so patches of snow and ice can be seen. Check entrance steps and handrails for damage and repair if necessary. Eliminate unauthorized walkways using hazard tape or barriers to keep people from taking shortcuts across areas that are not shoveled.
- Make plans to prevent indoor slips. Review reports of previous slip-and-fall incidents and find solutions to eliminate those problem areas. To keep occupants and visitors safe indoors, use a floor fan to help keep walkways dry. Strategically place “wet floor” signs to slow people down as they enter the building. Use beveled floor mats to catch excess water. Keep extra mats on hand in case they become saturated with water and need to be changed. Clean up spills or puddles immediately and create a procedure for taking the appropriate action when someone comes across a spill.
- Give occupants winter tips. People play a key role in preventing slips and falls by being aware of their surroundings and making good decisions. Remind them to focus on their footing, watch where they walk and concentrate on getting from point A to point B safely. Tell them to use short, slow steps, and not to rush. Prohibit cell phone use until they arrive safely at their destination. Encourage appropriate footwear — no high heels or smooth-soled shoes and to report unsafe conditions to a supervisor or maintenance person.
With these tips, you can mitigate the safety risks that come along with snow, ice and cold temperatures. For more winter safety tips, contact KC Restoration. KC Restoration is a contractor Kansas City property and facility managers trust with all their stone, metal and wood projects.