Dec 07, 2015

Winter Dangers: Steps to Take for Winter Safety

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This fall, we’ve been lucky with some great weather and a mild start to December. However, The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a “cold, shivery” winter, with snow blanketing the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states this upcoming season.

Additionally, a monster El Nino is forecast to impact our nation’s winter weather patterns. And while some reports predict that parts of the country may experience milder-than-average temperatures, all the of the reports call for that “occasional” chilly, brisk, bitter cold air. And in the northeast, there’s usually more cold than anything else during the winter, so we wanted to share with you some winter dangers and some steps to take for winter safety.

Here are some helpful tips for business owners:

  • Do not allow plowed snow to remain in a parking lane after most snow has melted. Slips and falls can occur as people enter and leave their vehicles.
  • Be sure to remove re-melted snow and ice after the application of winter salt.
  • Adequately sand or salt walkways. The appearance of a clear path may cause people to proceed with less caution.
  • Remove snow that may have been plowed into a parking space during emergency snow removal.
  • Remove excess snow around curbs. Accumulation of snow in a parking area next to a curb has the potential for creating serious injuries.
  • Do not allow ice to accumulate in parking lots. Deal with snow and ice immediately.
  • Mop all entrances and exits regularly to prevent water accumulation.
  • Make sure that handrails on stairways and walkways are secure. If someone fell and grabbed the rail, it would be exceptionally dangerous if the railing was not secure.
  • Point out the obvious. Post signs of caution in areas that are hazardous.

Share these helpful winter tips with your employees:

  • Require employees to wear anti-slip footwear (meaning no leather- or plastic-soled shoes). High heels should not be worn outdoors during winter weather. When walking across ice or snow, be sure to take short, flat steps.
  • Walk. Don’t run. Slowing down will decrease the chances of a slip and fall.
  • When entering a building, remember to shake your umbrella outside and clean your footwear thoroughly on the floor mats or carpet.
  • Once inside a building, don’t walk too fast and avoid making sharp changes in directions.

Useful tips to stay healthy and safe in general:

  • Winterize your home: Look (and feel) for gaps in doors, windows and the attic that cause drafts and seal them with weather stripping, insulation, caulking, towels or rags. Make sure to close off unused rooms as well as close draperies and cover windows at night. Additionally, it is important to have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly and ventilated.
  • Install a CO detector:  Carbon monoxide is an invisible gas that does not have an odor and is deadly. A CO detector can alert you to the presence of this gas. Become familiar with the symptoms of CO poisoning – headaches, nausea, and confusion – and seek medical attention immediately if suspected.
  • Limit time outdoors to less than 10 minutes whenever possible (cabin fever may warm us up in this cold).
  • Warm your body from the inside with hot liquids (e.g. soups, tea, coffee).
  • Dress appropriately. Wear multiple layers of loose clothing; cover ears, head, face, hands and feet
  • Keep dry with water-repellant items and remove wet clothing immediately. And pay special attention to snow or other precipitation getting under your sleeves or into your boots.

The AWANE Team continues to work hard to keep our members and their employees safe. Our safety tips section is full of great information for daily use both in and out of the workplace. Our focus on safety culture is one of the many reasons why we win when controlling workers compensation costs. The AICC Workers Compensation Program in Massachusetts offers large up front discounts in premium, and also pays back dividends every year to members. Over the past five years we have awarded more than five million dollars back to the members!

Contact us today to learn more about our great programs and how we can help you control your costs, and maintain best in class employee benefits solutions.