Here in Iowa winter is still in full swing. Even though we get the joys of 40-degree days, they’re usually followed by a cold front that brings snow, ice, and freezing rain along with them.
It seems like every time the snow melts and the sidewalks are clear again, they’re covered right back up. Most of us are well aware of how to stay safe during the winter months, but a refresher never hurts anyone, especially when it applies to the workplace.
Here are six ways to keep your customers safe during the last few months of an Iowa winter.
This is an obvious one, but important nonetheless. Snow can pile up quickly and when it’s the heavy, slushy stuff, it will freeze overnight. Make a plan to have someone remove the snow from all traffic areas around your business. Be sure parking lots, sidewalks, and other walkways where customers may be walking are free of snow and ice.
Though meteorologists sometimes have a difficult time predicting weather patterns due to the changes in weather, it’s best to keep an eye or ear out for the forecast. Having a day’s notice or even a few hours will help you prepare for the snow plowing that will need to take place.
Want to stay ahead of the white, fluffy stuff? Lay some snow and ice melt down on your parking lot, sidewalks, and traffic areas the night before. This will help reduce the amount of snow that piles up as accumulation occurs. It will also make snow removal easier since there will be less snow to shovel.
After everything is clear and you can focus on daily business, watch how the snow and ice melts and see if there’s any drainage along the walkways. If the temperature dips down again, these areas could freeze, which transforms them into a safety hazard.
Keeping customers safe from winter weather doesn’t stop at the door. Cold, wet conditions outside are brought inside, which means the risk of trips, slips, and falls increases dramatically. OSHA likes us to use those handy yellow “Caution: Wet Floor” boards, so set those up in all entrances with slippery, wet floors. Then, place absorbent carpets or mats at each entrance so people have a chance to leave the slushy snow behind before they enter the building.
It’s safe to assume that anyone working in your company is capable of heeding winter safety tips. However, it’s good for us to have an occasional reminder that not everyone is as used to snow as native Iowans. Send an email communication or dedicate a section of the business newsletter that reminds staff members to take extra precautions. Encourage them to leave a few minutes early in the morning so they can get to work safely.
Then, remind them to watch over any customers walking in the door. We’re all in a hurry and tend to blunder about, especially when we’re trying to get things done, so encourage your employees to help any customers who need assistance getting into the building or walking through the slippery entrance.