As winter weather ushers in bitter cold, ice and snow, don’t overlook the fact that ice and snow can cause an increase in slip/trip/fall-related injuries to employees, volunteers and guests.
Slip and fall hazards often occur at entrances, on exterior sidewalks and in stairways and parking lots. It’s important to implement an aggressive maintenance program to promptly remove ice and snow from these areas and routinely monitor surface conditions.
Claim history can predict potential future losses
Slip/trip/fall injures are the leading cause of workers’ compensation and bodily injury claims. Developing solutions to help reduce slip/trip/fall hazards is key when it comes to preventing injuries.
Closely monitoring changing surface conditions of sidewalks and parking lots is an important safety practice. Even a small amount of snow or ice accumulation on a walking surface can quickly turn good surface conditions into potentially treacherous ones.
- Provide additional mats in entrance areas during the winter or rainy seasons to collect and absorb snow, moisture and dirt.
- Instruct employees to wear slip-resistant footwear when working outdoors or in slip-/trip-/fall-prone areas.
- Place labeled bins filled with ice-melting chemicals near entrances and exterior sidewalks.
- Routinely remove or plow snow from parking lots and monitor parking areas for slippery or icy patches.
- Ensure proper lighting is used in parking areas, hallways, stairwells and walkways inside and outside of your building.
- Ensure proper construction and maintenance of stairs and handrails. Stairs should have slip-resistant treads. Stairs that could potentially lead to missteps should be clearly marked with visual cues, such as yellow safety paint or tape.
- Handrails should be the appropriate size and height. Handrails should extend the full length of the staircase and extend 12 inches at the top and one tread depth at the bottom.
Monitor and log winter maintenance strategies.
Conduct daily walk-through inspections of your facility to identify slip and falls hazards. Hazards should be photographed, documented and corrected. Keep snow and ice maintenance logs listing the person responsible for correcting the hazard along with a targeted completion date. Logged entries should chronologically list what actions were taken, when they were completed and by whom.
Maintenance logs can help in the defense of a claim to show that reasonable steps were taken to plow, shovel, sand or salt walkways and parking lots.
Keep logs for at least one year in the event an alleged injury is claimed several months after the reported date of injury.
Take steps now to reduce the risk of slip-trip-fall-related injuries with an organized maintenance plan that includes maintenance logs.