Winter Slippery Surfaces: How NOT to Get Tripped Up!

Weather-related slips and falls are especially common during winter. Here are tips to avoid them in and around your workplace now, and also all year.

Unless they’re ice skating or skiing this winter, you don’t want your employees slipping and sliding—especially around your workplace.

Weather-related slips, trips, and falls become a serious hazard as winter conditions often make for wet or icy surfaces outdoors. Even wet leaves or mud can create treacherous walking conditions. And indoors, spills and leaks can always lead to slips and falls anytime during the year.

You want to do everything you can to prevent these accidents—outside and in. Perhaps the best way to do it is with a little awareness training. Short safety meetings in every department will get people thinking about slipping hazards—and taking precautions to prevent falls.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

–Create a slip-free zone … inside and out. Inside, remind employees to clean up spills, drips, and leaks immediately (even a little coffee spill on the floor can cause an injury). Make sure maintenance personnel and other employees put up signs or barriers to warn people when floors are wet, slippery, or otherwise hazardous. And be sure that on wet days, somebody is assigned to put down mats near entryways to help keep floors dry.

Outside, see that slippery spots are sanded or salted immediately. And encourage employees to wear sensible shoes with nonskid soles. Also remind them to wipe their feet when they come in, and to walk slowly and take smaller steps on wet or slippery surfaces.

–Encourage employees to report slippery conditions. Make sure employees know how, and to whom, to report any slipping hazards they can’t clean up effectively inside. And make it easy for them to report any slipping hazards they notice outside, on walkways, in parking lots, or anywhere else on your property. That way, maintenance can get to the scene quickly and remove the hazard before an employee or visitor slips and falls. (As a matter of course, you should always emphasize that every employee fix or report any hazardous condition they find at your facility.)

Don’t forget that if an employee is injured by a slip or fall, it could mean lost workdays, workers’ compensation, and other medical expenses. If a visitor is injured by a slip or fall outside or inside of your facility, it could mean an expensive lawsuit.

Bottom line: Stop slip-ups on your property, and you won’t have to worry about taking a fall in court later.

Why It Matters…

–Falls are among the most common type of injury both on and off the job.

–Several hundred thousand American workers suffer injuries from falls on the job every year—a number of those related to slipping accidents.

–Although slips and falls usually aren’t fatal, they can cause broken bones and back injuries.

–Awareness by employees and emphasis on indoor and outdoor maintenance on the part of management can prevent most, if not all, of slip-related accidents.


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