Ah, winter. The warm cozy fires, the sparkling holiday lights, the first fresh flakes of snow… followed by a foot of the nasty stuff that doesn’t seem to let up until June. As employers, we need to ensure the safety of our staff and customers in the midst of snow-piled parking lots and ice-glazed sidewalks. Here are some handy tips for avoiding winter wonderland injuries.
Salt and light: Keep steps and walkways well-lit and clear of ice and snow. Sprinkle rock salt or sand to melt what the shovel missed. Maintain an ample supply of de-icing compounds on site.
Stick with it: Never leave a snow blower or snow plow unattended. Make sure all people are out of the path of the blowing snow, and if the blower becomes stuck with packed ice or snow, NEVER try to clear it by putting your hand in the machine while it’s running.
Lend a glove: Keep a few shovels, ice scrapers, gloves and boots on hand for employees who are caught unaware. One Wisconsin employer recalls how a daytime snowstorm left workers’ cars steeped in six inches of fresh snowfall. A new employee from South Carolina, who was unaccustomed to the weather, resorted to using his briefcase to shovel out his tires. Encourage staff to keep their cars equipped with snow and ice-removal tools for the drive home from work, but for those who don’t, a little planning on your part will ensure safety… and spare a perfectly good briefcase from permanent water damage.