Slips and falls happen year-round, but winter ice and snow create a more hazardous environment that increases the risk of injuries for your employees. We put together a list of workplace winter safety tips for employers and employees. A proactive safety plan that addresses slips and falls not only enhances worker safety but also minimizes potential costs from workers’ compensation and fines.
Employer Winter Safety Tips
An active effort needs to be made to prevent ice build-up on walkways, de-icing walkways, and clearing walkways. Make sure all walkways and passageways are clearly marked and well lit.
Keep all walkways, stairways and other work areas cleared of ice and snow. Before you shovel the snow at your workplace, do some stretching exercises first. When your muscles are warm, you will work more efficiently and reduce the risk of injuring yourself. Avoid caffeine and nicotine. They increase your heart rate and may cause your blood vessels to constrict.
Rock Salt and Kitty Litter
Have de-icing products handy for hard-to-remove ice or snow. Rock salt helps melt the ice on slippery surfaces. Kitty litter can give you temporary traction.
Mark Hazardous Areas
Parking areas and outside break areas are often the most commonly overlooked. Clearly mark or barricade hazardous areas. Use temporary signs, cones, or floor stands to warn your employees. Snow removal companies often allow snow and other debris to build up in areas that may be in your employee’s pathway. Also mark slippery surfaces inside the building.
Employee Safety Tips
Winter Clothing and Footwear
Layering your clothes will create air pockets that help retain body heat. Wear slip-resistant footwear. Walk along grassy areas if a walkway is covered in ice.
Gloves are more fashionable and maybe more comfortable, but mittens keep your hands warmer. Your fingers touch each other inside mittens, they generate more body heat than when they’re inside gloves. Know the symptoms of frostbite and the first aid steps to address it.
Don’t Walk with Your Hands in Your Pockets
You may want to think twice before walking outside with your hands in your pockets. Keeping your hands in your pockets increases the risk of you falling or losing your balance in case you slip while walking on ice or snow. Practice safe walking on slippery surfaces by taking slow, small steps. Avoid carrying heavy loads that may compromise your balance.
Parking Lots and Cars
Take extra precautions when entering and exiting your vehicle. We have all heard about black ice. Black ice can occur in parking lots and roadways.
Before you hit the road, put together a winter safety kit. The kit should include an ice scraper/snow brush, blanket, gloves, kitty litter, flashlight, windshield washer fluid, jumper cables, small shovel, and a cell phone charger. Make sure you have a full tank of gas.
We hope our list of winter safety tips will help your business. Don’t forget to put together a winter plan for the inside of your office too.
During the winter months, you may want to schedule your office to lower temperatures when the office is closed and increase the temperature when your employees arrive in the morning. Read more about energy efficiency upgrades for your office. You may also want to read more about smart office technologies. Smart office users benefit from added security, comfort, energy management, and convenience, all while easily and remotely monitoring their office.
About Albrite Building
Albrite Building is a General Contractor company located at 777 Oakmont Lane, Suite #50, Westmont, Illinois 60559. We specialize in commercial building projects as well as specially selected residential projects. In addition to general contracting work, we also provide design and build services to meet our client’s specific needs. You can contact our office by phone at 630.655.9436, by fax at 630.242.6527, or by email.