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Category Archives: Ice Cleats

The True Cost of Not Enforcing Employee Ice Safety

icy signWith summer in the air, it’s easy to forget about the safety protocols involved when working in icy environments. But ice safety should be a year round concern for employers, especially when considering the true cost of not enforcing safety measures such as wearing ice cleats. This is because ice is a leading cause of slip-and-fall accidents in winter, and slip-and-fall accidents themselves make up a large percentage of annual worker compensation claims. In fact, here are some eye-opening statistics about slip, trip, and fall type incidents from the US Department of Labor and OSHA:

  • Make up approximately 25% of all general industry accidents
  • Account for more than 95 million lost work days annually
  • Trigger 15% of all accidental workplace deaths (second only to motor vehicle accidents)
  • Are the leading cause of accidents in restaurants, hotels, and public buildings
  • Result in more than $1.8 billion worth of worker’s compensation claims each year
  • Are a contributing factor in steeply rising insurance rates (currently averaging 30% per annum)

These costs, both in terms of real money and lost productivity, show why it’s important for business owners to stay on top of ice safety enforcement even in the warmer months. Things to do now include updating safety posters and reminders in break rooms and locker rooms; reviewing disciplinary procedures for employees that fail to wear ice cleats when required; inspecting stored ice cleats to ensure the storage environment is holding up well; and visiting CozyWinters to order new equipment for recent hires.

Once your employees realize how serious you are about enforcing ice safety they will begin following the rules more diligently, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep the conversation going year round.

 

Winter Wrap-Up: Ice Cleats

wintertraxIce cleats must be sized, worn, and used according to manufacturer’s instructions in order to provide extra traction, grip, and stability on icy terrain. Failure to do so could lead to the very kind of slip-and-fall accidents ice cleats are designed to prevent.

In a similar vein, ice cleats must also be stored and cared for properly during those months when employees return to their ordinary footwear because outdoor walkways are clear of snow and ice. Taking good care of ice cleats during the off-season helps prolong product life and ensures your safety gear will perform as expected next winter. Here are some general care and storage tips that are applicable to most types of ice cleats:

  • Thoroughly clean the product to remove all visible traces of dirt and salt, which can begin to degrade the rubber soles or rust the metal spikes after long-term exposure.
  • While cleaning, visually inspect the soles and individual spikes for signs of damage, including rips, tears, and uneven wear. Replace any damaged cleats that you discover.
  • Label or otherwise mark employee cleats so that the same pair can be distributed to the same person next winter.
  • Designate a specific storage area for the cleats, such as a cabinet, closet, pegged wallboard, or (if you only have a few pairs), drawer. The storage space should be kept dry and pest-free throughout the offseason.
  • Periodically check the storage environment to ensure it is holding up as expected.

Well maintained ice cleats are vital to protecting employees against injuries resulting from slip-and-fall incidents in snowy or icy conditions. Take care of your company’s winter safety gear by cleaning, inspecting, and storing ice cleats and other stabilizing footwear as recommended above.

Safety Tips When Working in Snow

march 1 ice cleat snow-safety-2016Working in extreme cold puts you at risk for hypothermia, frostbite, and similar health emergencies. When snow is also involved, the risks expand to include slip-and-fall accidents, dehydration, exhaustion, and more. To prevent succumbing to any of these hazards, we recommend implementing these safety tips when working in snow.

  • Wear ice cleats to provide extra traction and stabilization on icy or snowy surfaces. Take shorter steps than usual, but otherwise maintain an ordinary gait.
  • Use proper lifting form (bend at the knees, keep your back straight, and lift with your legs) and remove small amounts of snow at a time when manually shoveling sidewalks, driveways, and parking spaces.
  • Wear sunglasses when working outdoors on bright days to eliminate snow glare and improve visibility.
  • Use a bright orange or yellow reflective safety vest over your clothing to help drivers see you.
  • When working near roads or driveways, be on the lookout for skidding or sliding cars since it’s easy for drivers to lose control of their vehicles in snowy conditions.
  • Use extra caution when climbing or walking on ladders, roofs, and other high places. Be aware that heavy snow adds weight that can weaken structures and cause a collapse.
  • Wear a flashing light on your safety vest or helmet when working outdoors at night. A flashing light attracts attention from motorists and other pedestrians more quickly than a steady light.
  • Dress appropriately for the elements by wearing battery heated vests, gloves, and socks, and take frequent breaks within a sheltered space.

Whether you are an employee whose regular job duties take you outdoors in winter or are an individual performing maintenance and upkeep on your own property, working in the snow can be a dangerous activity. Ensure your safety by following the tips listed here and using good judgment when laboring outdoors.

Ice Cleats Guide: Spiked vs. Spikeless

If you’ve never shopped for ice cleats before, then you’re probably wondering if you should choose a spiked or spikeless product. The answer depends on several factors, including how often you or your employees intend to wear the cleats and the environmental conditions in which you expect them to be worn. For example, the kind of traction required for daily use in deep snow and slush is quite different from what’s required for occasional use on packed snow. To help figure out which model is best for your needs, check out this brief guide.

Spikeless ice cleats

Yaktrax Walker ice cleatsSpikeless ice cleats are typically made of a rubber compound and may be reinforced with steel coils for added traction. They are intended for use on packed snow or ice, making them ideal for light outdoor activities such as walking the dog, shoveling the snow, jogging, crossing large parking lots, or for employees working on shipping docks.

Some spikeless models to consider include:

  • Yaktrax Walker
  • Yaktrax Pro
  • Yaktrax Extreme
  • WinterTrax

Spiked ice cleats

Spiked ice cleats are fitted with steel or tungsten carbide spikes or studs that give the wearer maximum stability and traction even on deep snow, ice, and slush. Spiked ice cleats may be classified into medium-duty products that are suitable for urban walkers, amateur hikers, and outdoor runners or heavy-duty products that are intended forWinter Grips Ice Cleats law enforcement officers, postal workers, serious hikers and climbers, and even emergency rescue teams.

Some bestselling spiked models include:

  • WinterGrips
  • GripOns
  • MonsterGrips
  • STABILicers WALK
  • STABILicers MAXX
  • STABILicers RUN
  • Get-A-Grip Due North Advanced All-Purpose
  • Get-A-Grip Due North Ultra Everyday G-3

For more detailed product information on all the spiked and spikeless ice cleat models listed here, or to view our entire inventory of winter traction devices and warming products, visit the CozyWinters website. We also offer special volume pricing on ice cleats for government agencies and corporate entities, so contact us today.

Safety Tips While Wearing Ice Cleats

yaktrax_walkerAs a business owner or safety director at your company, you’re naturally interested in reducing the number of slip-and-fall accidents among your employees this winter. The first step was taking advantage of the volume discount pricing available at CozyWinters to supply each worker with a pair of ice cleats. Now the next item on the agenda is to impart the following ice cleat safety tips to your employees at an upcoming team meeting or via internal memo:

  • Get in the habit of wearing ice cleats whenever walking outdoors—even if only for a few minutes—because accidents can happen at any time. (Employers may refer to the strategies outlined in our previous post on the topic for ideas on promoting and enforcing ice cleat usage.)
  • Walk with a normal gait and stride length when wearing ice cleats.
  • Use extra caution when walking on outdoor stairs and ramps, particularly if carrying packages or pushing a heavy load.
  • Remove ice cleats to climb ladders or traverse non-ice or non-snow surfaces, such as concrete, granite, or marble sidewalks and stairs.
  • Avoid stepping on manhole covers when wearing ice cleats or other snow traction devices.
  • Remove ice cleats prior to going into stores, office buildings, and restaurants since the studs or coils can damage some types of indoor flooring, including linoleum and carpeting, plus those surfaces can be slick to a pair of ice cleats.
  • Be sure to put ice cleats back on before heading outdoors again.
  • Periodically inspect ice cleats to ensure that the studs are still intact. Replace any damaged or broken studs immediately.

Ice cleats are the most affordable and cost effective tool for preventing employee slip-and-fall accidents. But winter traction devices only work if they are worn regularly and if proper safety protocols are followed, so take the time to educate your employees about the tips listed here.

How Much is Too Much to Spend on Employee Ice Cleats?

employee ice cleatsSome employers are highly resistant to the idea of spending money on safety gear such as ice cleats. They defend their position by saying there simply aren’t enough slip-and-fall accidents among employees or contractors to warrant the purchase or by saying it would cost too much. This leads us to ask: how much is too much to spend on employee ice cleats?

To get an answer relevant to your business, it’s important to check industry data regarding the total cost of the average slip-and-fall accident. This data is typically available through agencies like the Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as industry journals and publications, and should include everything from direct worker’s compensation claims to emergency room visits, follow-ups with doctors or therapists, lost work days, lost productivity, and similar expenses.

Once you have a rough idea of what a single slip-and-fall accident might cost (the BLS puts this figure at around $28,000) you can weigh it against the following:

  • The per-unit cost of ice cleats: You can purchase a single set of ice cleats from CozyWinters for as little as $11.95 with no minimum quantity required. We also offer government and corporate pricing for bulk orders, which reduces the per-unit cost even more. At that rate, you can protect more than 2,300 employees for less than the average cost of a single slip-and-fall claim.
  • Employee morale: Study after study shows that happy employees who feel appreciated by employers tend to be more productive, put forth better effort, and remain in their jobs longer, leading to greater revenues and profits for companies. One of the best ways to demonstrate just how much you value employees is to show genuine concern for their safety and to make accident prevention a company-wide priority.

By any reckoning, the negligible cost of ice cleats for employees is an investment that will pay off in terms of productivity, safety, profits, and overall morale. Visit CozyWinters today to place an order or contact us for more information on government and corporate discounts on ice cleats and other employee safety gear.

Prepare Your Business for Winter

winter_stormWinter storms can disrupt businesses of all sizes, but are particularly bad for smaller entities that don’t have the financial or human resources to form a rapid response to severe weather. Being caught unprepared for a sudden snowstorm can leave businesses vulnerable to everything from slip-and-fall accident claims to structural damage to the facilities. That’s why small business owners are encouraged to prepare early for the coming winter by doing the following:

  • Inspect the roof and gutters for problems in need of immediate repairs. Ensure that all drains and spouts are free of debris so melting snow has a clear path to the ground.
  • Walk around the property after dark to confirm that all parking lots, sidewalks, driveways, and entrances are adequately lighted.
  • Mark parking lot and ground features that may become obscured or hidden due to heavy snowfall. These may include things like speed bumps, fire hydrants, car stops, curbs, shrubs, and anything else that could cause damage to vehicles or injuries to pedestrians.
  • Formulate a response plan to winter storms and emergencies that includes provisions for snow and ice removal, generators and other backup power sources, and evacuation routes for employees. Post the plan in the cafeteria or break room, and distribute a copy to all employees.
  • Install industrial carpeting, mats, and/or runners near entrances and in lobbies to absorb moisture and ward off indoor slip-and-fall incidents.
  • Provide all employees with ice cleats for extra traction when walking or working outdoors and to reduce the chances of accidents and subsequent worker’s compensation claims.
  • Review your insurance policies to confirm that property coverage is adequate and up to date. If necessary, take photos of your offices, warehouse, and inventory to help facilitate replacement in the event of a claim.

Taking the time to prepare your small business for winter can help you avoid disruptions to ordinary operations, damage to property and inventory, and negligence lawsuits. Start protecting your business now by implementing the tips listed here so you’ll be ready for whatever winter weather comes your way.

Employers Can’t Afford to Ignore Winter Safety Hazards

cautionAlthough winter is still a couple of months away, it’s never too early for employers to begin making plans to deal with the safety hazards caused by the season’s abundance of ice and snow. Poor traction and slick surfaces in particular are two concerns that employers simply cannot afford to ignore, as these conditions are leading causes of slip-and-fall accidents that can negatively impact businesses. The average slip and fall injury costs a business $28,000, according to the Bureau of Labor. Costs due to these injuries can add up in the following ways:

  • Direct workers compensation payouts
  • Lost employee work days
  • Decreased on-the-job productivity for injured workers
  • Lower employee morale
  • Possible litigation and punitive damages
  • Legal fees and court costs
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Lost business if victim is a client, customer, or other visitor to the facility

All of the above can happen as the result of a single incident, which is why preventive measures must be taken well before the first snowstorm and why swift responses to inclement weather are required throughout the winter. Some of the most effective actions for avoiding potential slip-and-fall claims include:

  • Mandating the use of ice cleats for all employees that work outdoors
  • Making ice cleats or other traction devices available for office employees that must occasionally walk outside for considerable distances (e.g. across campus or through an airport parking lot)
  • Removing snow from walkways and sprinkling salt on exposed surfaces to melt ice
  • Eliminating uneven surfaces in parking lots and on sidewalks
  • Placing floor mats or carpeting inside doorways to absorb snow, ice, and debris from employees’ footwear

Providing safe winter walking gear for employees and visitors is clearly in everyone’s best interest, not only for avoiding all the detrimental outcomes listed here but also for preventing sprains, broken bones, and other serious injuries. So check out the variety of ice cleats and stabilizers we have on sale now at CozyWinters, and be sure to inquire about volume pricing deals for larger orders.

Think your industry’s employees don’t need ice cleats? Think again.

falling-on-iceFiguring out what kind of personal protective equipment employees need for a particular job is often a straightforward task. In fact, within most industries there’s very little guesswork involved. For example, hearing protection, safety glasses, steel-toed boots, and gloves are fairly standard issue for employees in manufacturing positions, while those in carpentry or construction jobs might also need a hardhat, high-visibility vest, and/or respiratory protection.

However, it can be a bit more difficult to determine which industry’s employees should be given ice cleats for the winter. That’s because we tend to think that only workers in outdoor jobs, such as mail or package delivery and landscaping, would benefit from the extra traction ice cleats provide.

But consider how frequently employees that have “desk jobs” are required to go outside in the winter as part of their ordinary duties. All of those offsite business meetings, trips to the post office, lunches and dinners with clients, and visits to trade shows and conferences put even corporate employees at risk for slip-and-fall accidents—leaving you, as the employer, potentially liable for workman’s compensation claims, increased insurance costs, and lost productivity.

To protect your employees and your business, we recommend ice cleats for the following types of workers:

  • Firefighters
  • Police officers and security guards
  • EMT personnel
  • Newspaper reporters and photographers
  • College and university staff (especially on large campuses located in areas that receive heavy snowfall)
  • Traveling salespeople
  • Frequent-flyer type executives

The goal here is to provide ice cleats for any employee that is required to leave the building and visit other locations during the workday. Since you can’t be sure that the other site has followed safety protocols in terms of shoveling snow and salting walkways to eliminate ice buildup, you’re better off giving your employees the means to protect themselves.

Now that you’re ready to purchase ice cleats for your employees, visit CozyWinters to check out all the different brands and styles we carry. We offer volume pricing on government and corporate orders, so get ready to stock up on winter footwear today.

How to Store Ice Cleats and Other Winter Items for Summer

storage solution winter productsWe know what you’re thinking: It’s now the middle of July and the cold, ice, and snow are impossibly far away. Why bring up winter gear storage now?

That’s a fair question, especially if you’ve already stowed your ice cleats, battery heated apparel, electric blankets, ski boots, gloves, and other expensive winter equipment in an appropriate manner.

But over the years we’ve learned that, for a variety of reasons (forgetfulness, lack of time, sheer procrastination, etc.), a large number of our customers don’t actually get around to this task until sometime in the summer—like right about now.

So if your winter gear has been securely packed away for the past few months, you can take this opportunity to check up on the items to make sure they’re completely dry and pest-free. And if you’re still fighting your way through wool sweaters and down jackets as you try to find your favorite t-shirt or windbreaker, use our tips for storing those garments for the rest of the summer:

  • Machine wash or dry clean the garment according to the manufacturer’s instructions on the label before storing. Then neatly fold or roll each item to avoid developing unwanted creases in the material, and place in a vacuum-sealed storage bag or airtight plastic container.
  • Heavier garments such as parkas and down jackets should be hung on sturdy plastic or wood hangers (never wire ones) that are able to support the extra weight.
  • Keep apparel and blankets smelling fresh by tossing a sachet of cedar chips or dried lavender in the storage container before sealing.
  • Store apparel and blankets in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This will help prevent musty odors and mildew, as well as keep moths, mites, and other pests at bay.
  • Use wall pegs, hooks, or racks in the garage to hang ice cleats, ski boots, and other winter footwear off the ground and out of your way.
  • Check in on your items every 4 to 6 weeks so you can spot any irregularities or problems in time to take corrective action.

Whether your winter gear has been safely stored away since the last of the snow melted or you’re just getting around to the job now, you can use the advice listed here to help preserve your clothing, blankets, and equipment in great condition until you need it again.