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It’s important to have a workplace snow and ice removal plan.

Having a snow and ice removal plan for your workplace is imperative for the safety of your employees and customers. Every year, slips and falls on icy walking surfaces are a leading cause of workplace injuries during the winter months. Hospital emergency rooms always see an increase of patients who have fallen after a snowfall or icy conditions during the winter months. These injuries can be anything from a broken wrist or sprained ankle to more severe fractures, internal injuries and even life threatening head trauma. Being proactive with a comprehensive snow and ice removal plan can help prevent winter workplace falls and injuries.

Your written plan should include these components:

Key personnel and processes

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Consider purchasing "bent handle" snow shovels for your snow shoveling maintenance workers. These ergonomically designed shovels help reduce the amount of bending and strain on the back when shoveling and lifting snow

  • Appoint a plan coordinator and assign responsibilities and specific duties to trained employees.

  • List telephone numbers of these key persons.

  • Establish a budget for snow removal expenses, materials and contractors if needed.

  • Plan coordinator (and backup coordinator) must monitor weather forecasts and ensure that the snow removal staff is informed at the earliest appropriate time of when to begin snow and ice removal.

  • Make sure that all designated front-line and back-up snow and ice removal employees are properly trained to use snow removal equipment and deicing chemicals.

  • Make sure these employees are fitted with proper personal protective equipment including eye protection.

  • Instruct and train these employees to conduct a physical inspection of your facilities’ grounds, documenting all sidewalks, entrances, stairs and ramps, and parking areas that need clearing – before the first snowfall.

  • Ensure that you have adequate staff scheduled to handle both the 1-inch snowfall and the heavy 1-foot snowfall.

  • Be aware of the physical condition of your snow removal employees and do not allow workers to overly exert themselves.

  • Be aware of melting/drainage areas across walkways that can refreeze after the initial clearing. These areas may need repeat clearing/deicing.

  • Develop and maintain a “Snow Removal Log” that documents and identifies the staff, dates and times of snow and ice removal. Keep detailed logs of the problem areas that need added attention, including areas that routinely refreeze/ice up after initial clearing.

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  • Provide proper snow removal equipment and tools, such as snow shovels, ice chippers, snow-blowers, salt spreaders, ice melting chemicals/salt and nonskid runners/mats for entrance areas.

  • Inventory and maintain in good working condition all motorized equipment such as snow-blowers with fuel, etc.

  • Direct pedestrians’ safety attention to icy areas by placing warning cones or signs.

  • If deemed necessary, contract with a fully insured, experienced and dependable snow removal/plow contractor. Agree in advance as to the services provided and time line for the snow removal to begin.

This safety information was compiled by our Loss Control and Communications Departments. This information is advisory only. It may not address all hazards or conditions in need of correction in your particular workplace. Chesapeake Employers assumes no liability for identification of unsafe conditions or hazards. Safety and health remain your responsibility.


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