By Chad Engle, Loss Prevention and Safety Manager

This first round of snow (for us Eastern Nebraska folks anyway) will be melted and gone by the time you read this. Unfortunately, multiple NIRMA member employees and courthouse visitors have already suffered slip and fall injuries due to ice and snow. It’s common this time of year but that doesn’t mean it can’t be prevented.

  • Start with timely and thorough snow removal.
  • Place the snow pile in a location where it will not run back onto the sidewalk when it melts as it can re-freeze and create another hazard.
  • Use salt/sand/ice melt in those areas where a slip hazard remains.
  • Document snow removal to include times and the amount of salt/sand/ice melt that was used. This information is very useful when defending liability claims resulting from slip and fall injuries.
  • Continue to monitor problem areas after snowfall ceases and initial snow removal is complete.
  • Pay extra attention to stairs, entrances, and other high traffic areas.
  • Ensure there are sufficient floor mats in place to allow visitors to dry off their shoes upon entering. Soaked floor mats should be replaced with dry mats.
  • Ensure floor mats lay flat on the floor. If the mat is starting to curl at the ends or has become stretched out and won’t flatten along the long edges, it should be replaced. Worn mats create additional trip hazards. The last thing we need is an additional trip hazard near a wet entrance!
  • Continuously monitor floors near entrances and mop up tracked in water. “CAUTION WET FLOOR” signs should be placed with conditions warrant.

In addition to taking the precautions outlined above, we need to be thinking of our own safety when we are out and about during the winter months.

  • Wear the correct footwear for the conditions.
  • Use cleats when you must walk in icy conditions.
  • If you don’t have cleats, it is safer to walk in the snow than on the ice.
  • Watch where you are walking and avoid ice.
  • If you must walk on ice, take short steps, move slowly, walk flat-footed, like a penguin.

It would be a shame to start out the new year with fall related injury. Please be mindful of weather conditions and have a plan to deal with them.

I am looking forward to 2023 and working with you on your county and agency loss prevention programs. If you are considering training before spring gets here, please give us a call sooner rather than later as the calendar fills up quickly. As always, I can be reached at 1.800.642.6671 or chad@nirma.info.