Slips & falls are the leading cause of workplace injuries and combined with winter weather conditions, it’s important to take proactive steps to prevent these accidents from happening in the first place.
A professional snow removal service is one way to help keep your employees safe and productive during this winter season. By keeping walkways, parking lots, and stairs clear of ice and snow, you can drastically reduce the chances of someone slipping and injuring themselves.
Not only will this save you money in lost productivity, but it could also help you avoid higher premiums from insurance companies or unnecessary lawsuits.
Slip and falls are a common occurrence in the workplace, with slips and falls being particularly prevalent in the winter months. While both types of accidents happen for a variety of reasons, there are some key distinctions between the two that employers should be aware of.
Slip and falls can occur at any time but are more likely to happen when surfaces are wet. In contrast, winter-related slips and falls typically occur when people walk on surfaces covered with ice or snow that have yet to be cleared. This is because slips and trips tend to happen when people lose their balance, or most commonly in the workplace, their vision is obscured by carrying an object.
While slip and falls in winter are often a result of icy or slushy conditions on a business premise that an employer has neglected. Winter-related slips & falls also come with far more legal weight than ‘regular’ slip and fall accidents would due to liability.
Data has shown that 25% of all workplace injuries are the result of a slip and fall, with that percentage increasing when winter arrives. Obviously, in Vancouver, the occasional, and unpredictable snowfall we experience can make it a challenge for businesses to budget for snow removal. This may leave certain businesses not budgeting at all for winter services, which result in employees being put into a risky situation, leading to a slip & fall.
A typical scenario sees employees arriving to work in the morning after an overnight snowfall, they are presented with a hazardous situation; their business establishments property is blanked with fresh snow. The first shift may be able to safely access the entrance, with an abundance of caution. However, property conditions will only worsen throughout the day as foot traffic increases and temperatures dip.
The shift supervisor instructs an employee to grab a snow shovel, and start clearing snow. As the employee is clearing snow from entrance way stairs, a customer arrives at the business and uses a pathway that has been previously used by staff but has yet to be cleared of snow.
As the customer walks to the entrance, they slip on compact slush, and while bracing for their fall, they injure their wrist. The employee clearing snow witnesses the customer slip & fall and rushes over to assist, however, in haste the employee slips on the partially cleared stairs twisting their ankle.
Two injuries; one being a potential personal injury lawsuit, and the second being an employee out on workers’ compensation. This is a very real scenario that could happen at any business during the winter season.
The cost of not having a proactive plan in place for dealing with winter weather conditions can be significant. In addition to the dangers posed to employees and customers, your business could be subject to legal action if someone is injured on your property. If you are found to be negligent in maintaining a safe environment, you could be facing a personal injury lawsuit. Even if you win the case, the legal fees can be astronomical.
For a business, it’s not as simple as having an employee remove snow or de-ice the premise. There are many factors that a business should consider when it comes to snow removal; liability exposure and expertise being the most important.
When an employer instructs an employee to perform snow removal, it exposes the business to not only skirting WorkSafe BC regulations but also puts the business in jeopardy, as a non-winter service-based business would not have a snow removal insurance policy.
If a slip & fall were to occur on the business premise and a case was brought before the court, there is a high likelihood that the court would side with the plaintiff as the business failed to hire a professional snow removal provider. The business could be out of tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Snow removal is often thought of as a straightforward process, but snow removal involves many aspects that are often overlooked, such as chemical compounds used in de-icing, plow specifications for property type, and a thorough understanding of the legalities of winter.
The solution is simple, to best protect your employees from slip & fall injuries at work in the winter is to hire a professional company that offers snow removal services. A professional winter service company has the expertise and insurance coverage needed to reduce the risk of slips and falls during the winter.
As mentioned hiring a professional snow removal company is the best way to protect your employees from slip & fall injuries at work in the winter, and keep personal injury lawyers at bay. Yes, snow removal is a complex process, and depending on the year it can be quite costly for a small business but it’s important to make sure your business is taking the necessary precautions to protect employees and customers from potential injuries.
Snow Queen Winter Management is a professional winter service company with over 30 years of combined experience, offering snow removal, ice management, and liability mitigation services to properties across the Lower Mainland. We have the expertise and insurance coverage needed to safely clear your property of snow and ice.
For a free quote, please call us at 604-359-8895 or request a quote directly.
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