When it comes to ice safety in the winter, business owners have to worry about more than just the possibility of employee slip-and-falls. They also have to worry about the possibility of customers, vendors, and other visitors getting injured on the premises due to slippery conditions.
In many municipalities across the country, property owners are legally obligated to keep walkways, driveways, and sidewalks clear of snow and ice. Failure to do so could result in costly litigation should a non-employee sustain an injury, which is why it’s a good idea to take the following precautions:
- Carefully monitor the weather forecast so you’ll always be prepared to deal with heavy snow and freezing temperatures. Gas up the snow blower, have extra shovels on hand, and stock up on rock salt ahead of impending storms.
- Make it a habit to inspect and clear your most heavily trafficked walkways on a daily basis. Examine the concrete or asphalt for bulges, cracks, and other abnormalities, and either fix the problem immediately or block off the area until the weather permits you to make repairs.
- Don’t forget to check handrails and guardrails to ensure they are sturdy enough to act as a stabilizing aid for pedestrians. Again, replace or repair as needed, and keep the tops clear of ice and snow.
- Provide extra lighting in parking lots, walkways, and entryways to compensate for the shortened daylight hours of winter.
- Keep your vestibule, lobby, and hallways dry by laying out rubber mats and carpets to trap snow, sleet, and ice from visitors’ For best results, safety experts recommend extending the mats at least 15 to 20 feet from the doorway into the building.
While business owners can compel employees to adhere to winter safety rules, and supply them with ice cleats, it’s simply not possible to force visitors to exercise caution or wear traction devices. Nevertheless, you are on the hook for everyone’s safety and well-being, so help prevent accidents by taking the steps listed here.