This time of year, one of the most common injuries that take place at work are caused by slip and fall accidents. For this reason and more, it is necessary to prepare your premises for inclement winter weather by ensuring workplace safety all season long. Otherwise, you risk an assortment of financial and legal consequences, and worst of all, injured employees. The good news is, right now is the perfect time to start this initiative since the snow hasn’t arrived yet!
Continue reading to learn what you can do to winter-proof the workplace, including how to promote winter safety awareness among your employees.
Employer Consequences for Winter Slip and Fall Accidents
As an employer, you have a grave responsibility to keep both employees and patrons safe from hazards. And in the winter time, this responsibility requires even more attention since accidents are more likely to occur. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016 there were more than 20,500 workplace slip and fall injuries that resulted from conditions brought on by ice, sleet, and snow. Of these numbers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 28% resulted in more than 30 days off work for victims.
These numbers should be a wake-up call to you as a business owner, and for many reasons. Workplace slip and fall accidents can result in very serious injuries, including broken bones, herniated discs, concussions, head injuries, brain injuries, and paralysis. Not only do these injuries severely impact an employee’s life, they can also have a significant negative impact on the company and business owner too. Possible employer consequences for winter workplace slip and fall accidents include:
⇢ Reduced Company Productivity
⇢ Higher Workers’ Compensation Costs
⇢ Replacement Employee Costs
⇢ Overtime Payments for Remaining Employees
Winter-Proofing Tips You Need to Know
In order to protect yourself, your staffs, and your company from the negative impact of slip and fall accidents, you must ensure that all hazards are eliminated and employees are well-aware of winter safety practices. Here are some things to look out for and manage before the winter precipitation is here:
⇒ Snow Removal Management:
Meet with your snow removal provider and maintenance staff, and make a concrete plan for snow and ice management. Be sure they understand the protocol you expect, including which entrances and areas to clear first. Also go over an accountability plan to avoid staffing problems and poor workmanship.
⇒ Outdoor Maintenance:
Handle all needed outdoor repairs that can turn into winter hazards before the winter precipitation begins. This includes parking lot surface damage (potholes, lamp posts, road marks, etc.), poor lighting, uneven walkways, curbs, ramps, handrails, staircases, plumbing pipes, water leaks, and more. By repairing these areas, you increase the safety of your exterior premises.
⇒ Indoor Maintenance:
Turn your attention to the interior and be sure to eliminate the possibility of slipping on wet floors. Implement warning signs and floor fans for entrances that collect melted snow and ice, ensure that all indoor lighting is sufficient, incorporate beveled floor mats to trap excess water, and keep some extra floor mats around to replace the saturated ones. This includes cleaning up all spills and puddles immediately. Also in the interior, eliminate any tripping hazards, such as electrical cords, torn carpeting, poor lighting, obstructed walkways, and anything else that can cause someone to trip and fall.