As an employer, you have a duty to protect your employees from slips and falls on your premises.
Many hazards present themselves to both yourself and your employees during the winter season. More than 21,000 Ontarians visit the emergency room each year because of injuries from falling on ice or snow. This is one of the main risks of winter, and can easily affect yourself and your employees at the workplace. Keep everyone safe this winter with the following preventative measures and best practices.
As an employer, you have the duty to ensure the safety of your employees, through any season. When snow accumulates or ice forms, walkways and parking lots present as a slip hazard. Ice, snow, slush, wet surfaces, and mud (during a thaw) can cause slips and falls. To lower the risk of slips and falls within workplace parking lots, walkways, etc., use sand, salt, or other de-icing material. For further precautionary measures, inform employees that when they are walking through potentially slippery areas, to have at least one hand free to help keep balance and cushion a fall if a slip or fall occurs.
If your employees spend time working outside during the winter, potential hazards extend to cold stress, hypothermia and frostbite.
Cold Stress: Exposure to the cold can lead to frostbite and hypothermia
Hypothermia: The body can no longer maintain its core temperature, causing persistent shivering, confusion, and poor coordination.
Frostbite: Parts of the body are exposed to extremely cold temperatures or come into contact with cold objects, causing the tissues to freeze.
Inform your employees on the importance of wearing suitable gloves, hats, etc., to protect themselves from the cold weather.
Taking these precautions can prevent the effects of hazardous winters, keep yourself and your employees safe!
For further information on exposure, visit: www.IHSA.ca