It's Cold Outside: Reduce Slip, Trip and Fall Accidents
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It’s Cold Outside: Reduce Slip, Trip and Fall Accidents

It’s no secret that slip, trip and fall accidents increase substantially during the winter months – December through March. But there are things repair shops can do to reduce these falls and minimize their risk.

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It’s no secret that slip, trip and fall accidents increase substantially during the winter months – December through March. But there are things repair shops can do to reduce these falls and minimize their risk.

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“Given the current economic climate, cost is, understandably, a primary concern when planning a winter safety program,” said Helene Browning, director of general liability at Zurich Services Corp. “It’s critical to prioritize what needs to be done and what actions you need to take to maximize your resources. Businesses must evaluate winter planning from a 360-degree approach: the building aspect, the people aspect and the driving aspect.”

Zurich has “risk engineers,” she said, who specialize in providing cutting-edge risk management strategies and solutions to their customers that can help them better protect their business.

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Browning offers the following tips for business owners to reduce winter weather STF accidents:

Snow and Ice Clean Up and Control

– Stock up early on salt, sand or ice melt.

– Purchase entry walk-off mats and make sure that they are not so thick as to block the swing of entry doors.

– Extend mats 8 to 12 feet into the entrance to allow for the removal of moisture from shoes. A rule of the thumb is to have the mat long enough so that each foot steps on the mat three times.

– Institute frequent floor surface monitoring by designated staff throughout a weather event.

– Have dry mops and wet floor signs readily available.

– Consider closing side entrances if you lack the resources for frequent inspection and maintenance.
   
– Post an employee at entrances during peak hours to encourage wiping feet on mats. You can also post a sign to get attention.

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– Inspect handrails to ensure they meet minimum strength and positioning requirements. Consider installing more handrails to aid in winter safety.

– Inspect awnings, gutters, roofs and downspouts for repair or replacement. A dripping gutter over an entryway can lead to ice buildup.

– Be sure walkways are clear before releasing staff early from work during storms.

– Use calcium chloride instead of rock salt. It works better at low temperatures and is less damaging to concrete and landscaping.

Review Snow Removal Contracts/System

– Ensure duties are clearly defined for your staff and for any snow removal contractors you use.

– Ensure your contract specifies how often salting/snow removal is to be
performed.

Designate a Weather Team

– Encourage employees to monitor weather reports to help prepare the workplace.

– Increase awareness by posting daily weather briefings.
   
– Distribute sand, salt or ice melt before employees are scheduled to arrive.

“Dealers should also consider who walks onto their property," said Regina McMichael, head of customer education and engagement for Zurich’s Risk Engineering unit. "They should implement additional slips, trips and falls reduction techniques if their business caters to children, the elderly or patrons wearing dress shoes. We can help them develop a plan specialized to their business needs."

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For more information about STF accident reduction, visit www.risk-engineering.com.

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