As Missouri’s fall weather conditions deteriorate into winter, employers are encouraged to take steps now to minimize slip and trip risks. MEM injury statistics show that winter slips and trips are the most common type of employee injury in Missouri. Every employee is at risk when snow, ice and water cover walking, working and driving surfaces. Trends including an aging workforce, obesity and medical inflation combine to make these types of injuries more severe and expensive to treat. Check out our winter slip and fall prevention tips.
- Know what’s headed your way: Use smart phones and the internet to stay abreast of weather forecasts.
- Hold quick safety meetings or send winter safety reminder messages prior to weather events.
- Review safe footwear recommendations and put expectations in writing.
Equipment and supplies
- Stock up on supplies including ice melt and shovels.
- Make sure supplies are available and ready for use by employees.
- Provide slip-cover ice cleats for employees that work outdoors.
- Have good-quality flashlights available for work in poorly-lit areas or for scanning walking areas.
- Make sure plenty of help is available to scoop snow. Workplace snow removal is not a one person job.
High traffic areas: Parking lots, walkways and stairs
- Pre-treat walkways, steps and curb areas with ice-melt before storms.
- Make sure parking areas are well lit because many employees will begin and end their workday in the dark.
- Select and flag safe walking paths in parking lots.
- Block off dangerous parking lot areas.
- Inspect walkways often. Be ready to remove ice and snow buildup from snow plows and throw down ice melt.
- Don’t push snow uphill—it will melt, run downhill and refreeze.
- Employees may track in sand, ice melt and water. Make sure entrances are checked often for slip hazards and keep a mop close by for cleaning up spills and melted snow/ice.
- Use a fan to dry floors.
- Longer floor mats may be needed to further clean shoes of water, sand and ice melt.
- Keep entrances well-lit.
- Review the three-point contact method for anyone that mounts/dismounts equipment and trucks.
- Educate all of your employees about safe driving during winter weather.
- Develop and deploy a distracted driving policy. Winter weather driving requires full attention to the road.
- Make sure fleet and personally-owned vehicles are ready for winter precipitation with good tires, wipers and operable windshield defogger/defrosters.
- Work performed on top of flat beds, trailers, machine ladders and platforms can be slippery and an increased risk for injury.
- Look for ice or water on slick building materials like steel and sheet metal before walking or standing on them.
- Inspect all ladders, scaffolds and pick boards before using since they can freeze easily.
- Purchase and supply crews with ice cleats that fit over work/mud boots.
- Create safe walkways into and out of facilities, work areas and buildings under construction.
Managing a slip or fall claim
- Have an injury management plan in place that includes an in-network physician skilled in orthopedic injuries.
- Develop a written post-injury drug and alcohol screening process.
- Require that employees submit written injury reports before the end of their shift.
- Report all employee injuries within 24 hours whenever possible.
- Review supervisory/management employees about their responsibilities.
- Inform employees about your company injury reporting requirements.
Print off some of our winter safety resources, post them in your workplace and use them at your next safety meeting.