For facility professionals, whether dealing with customers, students, employees, or tenants - personal safety at all times, and especially in the winter, is a top priority. HeatTrak provides 10 simple ways to prepare a facility for winter, and prevent dangerous slip and fall injuries due to snow and ice.
Winter is quickly approaching - and each year, like clockwork, the gusting winds, snow storms and freezing temperatures descend on cities throughout the country. From Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon, just about every facility becomes a potential danger zone thanks to the harsh winter weather. Primary concerns are snow, ice, and freezing rain, which can cause dangerous slip and fall accidents and lead to costly injuries.
According to the National Safety Council, the average cost of a slip and fall injury to a facility is $28,000 and slips and falls are the most common cause of emergency room visits. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that more than one million people seek medical attention each year for slip and fall accidents and according to the National Floor Safety Institute, compensation and medical costs associated with employee slip and fall accidents is approximately $70 billion annually.
Here are ten simple steps to help mitigate winter's potential dangers, prevent slip and fall injuries around the facility, and avoid costly accident claims.
- Keep walkways, doorways, stairways, and high-traffic areas free of clutter and debris.
- Keep sidewalks, walkways and rooftops free of ice and snow. Snow-melting mats, such as those from New Jersey based, HeatTrak, are an efficient and convenient way to prevent snow and ice accumulation around a facility and help reduce slip-and-fall accidents. Look for products that are portable and designed to be left outside for the entire winter season.
- Fill holes and depressions around your property that may accumulate excess ice, snow, and water. Inspect all concrete, stone or brickwork and if needed, try to repair them before the snowy season begins.
- Inspect gutters and downspouts for leakage as this can cause dangerous ice patches to form.
- Ensure the facility has proper lighting both inside and outside.
- Regularly replace burnt-out light bulbs and be sure to use the appropriate wattage.
- Install light switches at the top and bottom of buildings' stairs.
- Make sure stair height and tread widths meet building codes, and that each step is identical in size.
- Use nonskid pads to secure area rugs and throw rugs.
- Make sure adequate insurance coverage is in place in case there is an accident on the organization's property.
Just like other routine maintenance, keeping facility grounds safe and secure isn't difficult. But it does require a systematic maintenance plan, the proper tools and solutions, and a commitment to ensuring that the work is done to the highest standards.