Each winter brings a host of challenges for facility managers. Employee sickness can disrupt your workflow, while freezing pipes and roof collapse can cause severe property damage. Power outages can harm your equipment, and closed roads can impede access for workers, customers, and visitors.
But one of the most costly winter mishaps is slip and fall injuries because of snow and ice on ground surfaces around your property.
Here’s what you need to do to protect yourself from these expensive accidents:
#1 Know the stats
Slip and fall injuries account for 800,000 hospitalizations each year. A lucky person gets up and walks away; a less lucky individual might suffer a broken bone or head injury.
If someone slips and falls on snow or ice on your property, most likely your facility will be on the hook for large medical bills and lawsuit liability. The average cost of a slip and fall injury is over $30,000. When you consider that your region might encounter several snowstorms in a season, this is a risk you can’t afford to ignore.
#2 Check your insurance policy
It’s important to be adequately insured for these types of mishaps. Familiarize yourself with the details of your current policy so you understand what events are and are not covered.
The Insurance Information Institute provides valuable advice to help you determine the correct policy for your needs. Consult with your agent to evaluate your property and points of entry so that you can determine your relative risk.
Areas of heavy traffic pose a substantial danger, but a high deductible can bring the cost of your coverage down. Educating yourself will ensure that your enterprise is not over- or under-insured.
#3 Mandate that workers wear proper footwear
A percentage of your staff probably works outside in all climates. Whether they’re unloading trucks, working a gate, or operating machinery, it’s your job to ensure these employees are properly clothed to prevent accidents.
Workers compensation will cover an employee in case of a slip and fall injury, but you can reduce the risk of employee injury by mandating that everyone wear proper footwear at all times.
The International Safety Equipment Association provides recommendations on safe footwear to help employees avoid injury.
#4 Arrange for an effective snow plowing contract
Depending on the size of your parking lot, a large number of accidents can occur as pedestrians make their way from their vehicles to your building.
When contracting with a plowing agency, you’ll want a guarantee that your parking lot is cleared before employees, customers, or visitors arrive onsite. Make sure the contract sets forth provisions ensuring the snowplow personnel arrive in time to clear snow and ice before you are open for business.
The Better Business Bureau provides a fact sheet to help you choose the best contractor for your needs.
#5 Make sidewalks safe from slip and fall injuries
In addition to keeping your parking lot clear, you must address the walkways that snowplows can’t reach. Depending upon the means of access to your facility, these walkways can pose a significant liability.
Ensuring that your walkways remain clear, parking lots plowed, and that all personnel are properly clothed will provide a layer of protection between pedestrians and snow and ice that would otherwise pose a high risk of costly slip and fall injuries. Know your responsibilities and address them to keep your facilities, employees, and visitors safe, and your company liability-free.