You likely do all you can to protect your employees from harm. This may include providing personal protection devices, mandatory safety training, and the most efficient and safest equipment for your industry. However, there may be dangers you are overlooking.
Some of the most common injuries among workers occur when business owners neglect to exercise precautions during winter. Ohio weather is unpredictable, and the state has already dealt with a blast of wintry precipitation this year. Failing to tend to the hazards of snowy and icy surfaces may result in an employee injury, which places you at risk of liability.
Taking proactive steps while the weather is mild is always a good idea. Before the snow falls, survey the property for holes or slopes that may become slipping or tripping hazards when the ground is covered. Evaluate your supplies to ensure you have plenty of ice melt chemicals and abrasives so you won’t be racing around town looking for some when the weather hits. You will need enough to cover your paths and sidewalks, paying special attention to ramps and sloping areas.
Having extra floor mats for entrances and lobbies will allow you to trade them out when one becomes saturated. This will reduce the likelihood that an employee – or a customer – will slip on a floor that has snow tracked in on people’s feet. You will also want your housekeeping staff to be prepared to deal with slick floors and stairs during a weather event.
The parking lot
Naturally, your focus will be outside when the weather turns nasty. However, it is important that you don’t wait until the snow starts to fall to have a plan in place. Instead, have a maintenance schedule or a contractor on stand-by to keep up with snowfall before it accumulates too quickly. If you plow your parking lots before the snow is more than an inch deep, you lessen the possibility that the surfaces will freeze and harden.
If you cannot have the lot clear before your employees arrive for work, you may consider delaying the start of the work day. An employee who slips on an icy parking lot may suffer serious injuries, including head trauma or spinal damage. Clearing the snow quickly and thoroughly can reduce this hazard. It is important to push the snow to the lower end of the lot so it does not melt onto the parking lot and refreeze.
Your careful attention to employee safety will be under scrutiny if an employee suffers injuries in a fall on the job. You would be wise to have the counsel of an attorney on your side if this should occur.