Twisted ankles, concussions, broken bones - these are just some of the injuries that people sustain after slipping and falling on ice and snow. Many workplaces already have active housekeeping programs aimed at eliminating indoor slips, trips and falls. In the winter months especially, take that program outdoors to further protect employees and visitors.
Here are some seasonal prevention tips - just in time for a February 2015 slip, trip and fall inspection blitz.
1. Assess slip/fall hazards by
- conducting a detailed inspection of parking lots and walkways
- asking workers responsible for maintaining these areas for suggestions
- reviewing records of prior slips and falls, such as first-aid reports or minutes of joint health and safety committee meetings.
2. Control hazards by eliminating or reducing risk:
- set the highest standards for year-round groundskeeping, lighting and visibility, and ensure they are met
- if you hire a snow removal contractor, apply the same conditions you would to any on-site contractor, including ensuring the contractor has the proper qualifications, general liability insurance, and a valid WSPS certificate
- clearly identify steps, ramps and other elevation changes
- provide groundskeeping staff with appropriate hazard control equipment, materials and training
- monitor weather reports for advance warning of slippery conditions
- ensure steps, ramps, parking lots, walkways, entrances, and exits stay clear of mud, snow and ice
- keep sewer grates clear of obstructions so that water can drain quickly
- use salt, sand or other proven anti-slip material to keep lots and walkways clear.
3. Engage employees in preventing injuries by
- setting and communicating an expectation that all employees share responsibility for preventing slips, trips and falls
- making winter slip, trip and fall prevention part of a year-round awareness campaign
- creating a simple hazard reporting process
- educating workers on how to avoid slips, trips and falls.
Here are just some of the ways employees can protect themselves:
- wearing suitable footwear (low heels, warm, waterproof, ice/snow traction, etc.)
- using handrails on stairs
- taking special care when entering or exiting buildings and vehicles
- giving themselves enough time to get where they’re going without rushing
- walking around rather than over snow banks or other obstacles to get to their destination
- keeping in three-point contact with high vehicles when mounting or descending
- loading or unloading vehicles in a way that does not obstruct their vision.
How WSPS can help
- Sign up for a January 22, 2015 webinar on the upcoming slip, trip and fall inspection blitz.
- Check out our full range of slip, trip and fall resources, including training, e-courses and free downloads, that are adaptable to many circumstances and conditions.
- Ask a WSPS consultant about identifying and assessing hazards, and drafting policies and procedures.
- Watch for advance coverage of the February 2015 slip, trip and fall hazard inspection blitz in the January 2015 issue of WSPS Network News.