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 for snow removal
TIP: 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 backup coordinator) and assign responsibilities and specific duties to properly trained employees.

  • 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.

  • The use of motorized snow removal equipment like snow blowers and plows is preferred versus manual control (shoveling) of snow and ice when possible.

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

  • Make sure these employees are fitted with proper personal protective equipment, i.e., snow and ice cleats, reflective vests, safety glasses and layers of cold weather clothing.  

  • Be aware of the physical condition of your snow removal employees and do not allow workers to overly exert themselves. Workers involved in shoveling and
    de-icing tasks should take allotted breaks to rest, warm-up and stay hydrated and nourished.

  • In severe blizzard-like, frigid conditions, workers should wait until conditions improve before attempting snow removal.

  • Instruct and train these employees to conduct a physical inspection of your facilities’ grounds, documenting all potential walking surfaces, 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 melting/drainage areas across walkways that can refreeze after the initial clearing. These areas may need repeat clearing/de-icing.

  • Encourage employees to report black ice/refreezing or other slippery walking surfaces to management as soon as possible for the exposure to be corrected.

  • 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.

Snow removal equipment
  • 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 where needed.

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


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