One recent January morning, a mother was taking her 6-year-old daughter to a routine swim lesson when she experienced a traumatic fall on the sidewalk in front of the building. Despite recent snowy weather, there was only a faint dusting of snow on the ground and the walkways looked clear.
Unfortunately, appearances can be deceiving and undetectable black ice lined the walkway, causing serious injury.
The mother’s fall required intricate surgery to repair her shattered ankle, and her daughter suffered emotional trauma from witnessing the incident. The event also triggered the cancellation of a long-awaited trip to Disney World.
Slips, trips and falls are by no means the only risk associated with winter weather. From vehicle safety to facilities issues and frozen pipes, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to winter safety. Here are some of the ways you can stay ahead of cold weather:
Develop a Maintenance Plan: It’s important to keep the whole picture in mind and coordinate your winterization efforts. Safeguarding your facility starts long before temperatures plummet.
Sidewalks and Walkways: Whether there has been a violent winter storm, or a light rain and cold temperatures—the necessary attention given to sidewalks and walkways remains the same. Proactive steps taken to minimize slip, trip and fall incidents will reduce the occurrence of physical injury and alleviate emotional trauma for the community you serve.
Vehicle Readiness: In addition to treacherous road conditions, knowing the health of your vehicle(s) is necessary when considering winter-related risks. Comprehensive maintenance is the best way to prevent vehicle accidents related to winter weather.
Gutter, Pipe and Faucet Care: A variety of dangerous scenarios may develop unless gutters pipes and faucets are part of your winter maintenance plan. Pipe/faucet freeze-prevention and gutter sweeps are essential to preventing massive property damage, and even pipe-related accidents such as roof collapse.
Winter brings with it hazards that range from life threatening to simply disruptive. But it's important to remember that all of them need to be addressed. Even relatively minor winter incidents can have significant—sometimes life changing consequences. But with serious consideration, careful foresight, and proper planning, it’s possible to greatly reduce winter-related accidents inside and around your facilities.