Slips, trips and falls consistently rank among the top four causes of workplace injuries. As temperatures drop and rain turns to snow and ice, WSPS consultant Kevin Smith offers tips on how to incorporate winter hazard considerations into your existing slip, trip and fall prevention program.
- Update your slip, trip and fall hazard assessment by identifying and assessing these potential winter concerns:
- snow and ice accumulations. Are they promptly cleared from walkways, parking lots and loading docks? Are they deposited in a safe place? Are entrances and exits to buildings unobstructed? Are parking lot sight lines open? Storm drains kept clear? Could melting runoff turn into black ice?
- changing surfaces. For instance, cleared asphalt can offer a good grip, but a wet or icy steel connection joint or check plate can create real slip hazards.
- portable ladder. Do they have appropriate feet for icy and snowy conditions?
- outdoor lighting. As the days shorten, is your outdoor lighting coming on at an appropriate time?
- Share assessment results with
- your joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative so that they can incorporate the findings into monthly inspections
- whoever's responsible for snow and ice removal, whether in-house staff, a property manager, or snow removal service. Work together on opportunities to improve existing practices
- Add these simple suggestions to existing housekeeping requirements
- keep related supplies, such as sand, salt and shovels, near potential problem areas for easy access when needed
- keep floors and other work surfaces free of snow, ice and water
- use pylons to indicate wet and potentially slippery areas, but only when needed. If they're left in place after the hazard has disappeared, people will start ignoring them
- Add winter storm watches to emergency preparedness procedures so that the workplace can take action before weather conditions deteriorate.
- Raise awareness of winter hazards and solutions among all staff using existing communication techniques. For example:
- place posters in high visibility areas, such as washrooms, lunch areas, wherever people congregate
- encourage supervisors to add winter safety to safety talks. Possibilities include watching out for and reporting hazards, and wearing proper footwear
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