Winter is nearly upon us, which means colder weather, holiday music, and skiing. It also brings with it new workplace hazards, with snow and ice raising concerns about slip and falls.

Slip and falls on snow and ice may seem like inevitable hazards of the season, but they can be especially dangerous and very costly. There are many steps employers can take to help reduce the workplace risks that arise during the winter. Employers should start planning early and follow these steps to help avoid dangerous and costly injuries.

  1. Develop a snow removal plan. Well before the first snow fall, employers should make sure they have a comprehensive plan in place for removing snow.   In addition to clearing roadways and parking lots, make sure someone is assigned to clear all walkways, steps, ramps and entrances. These people should also be prepared to salt or sand all walkways, parking lots and entrances whenever there is any accumulation.
  2. Stock up on supplies. Employers should ensure that they have an ample supply of all the supplies they need to fend off winter conditions. These include snow-removal tools like plows and shovels, as well as sufficient salt, sand and other materials. Employers should consider providing employees with salt or sand in small individual containers to carry with them and use as needed.
  3. Clearly mark all hazards. Make sure to place signs or poles or other markings around any terrain that may be slippery or covered with snow. Make sure there are enough “wet floor” signs on hand for any wet or slippery spots.
  4. Install floor mats near entrances. Place non-slip mats near all entrances and extended into adjacent rooms in order to avoid tracking snow and water indoors.
  5. Provide safety instructions. Employers should make sure all workers are well versed in how to properly and safely work in snowy and icy conditions. This includes using proper footwear and avoiding using hands or arms to break a fall.

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