Ensuring Snowplow Safety

Quick and efficient snow removal is essential at any workplace, as snow buildup can present hazards to employees, drivers and pedestrians. That’s where snowplows can help. Yet, this equipment carries safety risks of its own. If you are responsible for operating a snowplow on-site, consider these tips:

  • Begin a pass by starting to move and then dropping the blade. Come to a stop as you approach the end of your pass. Do not let the snowplow slam full speed into already piled snow.
  • Raise the blade before positioning the vehicle for another pass. Always wear your seatbelt no matter where you are plowing. Hidden objects could cause the snowplow to stop suddenly.
  • Turn around and observe your surroundings while driving in reverse. Don’t solely rely on the snowplow’s mirrors.
  • Make sure you know when you are going to pile the snow before you start.
  • Don’t pile snow near mailboxes, fire hydrants, electrical boxes or dumpsters. If there is traffic in the area, be especially careful of people and other vehicles.

For more snowplow safety guidance, talk to your supervisor.

Avoiding Winter Slips and Falls

Winter months present additional hazards that employees like you typically don’t encounter during warmer weather. Specifically, amid snowy and icy conditions, you may run the risk of experiencing major slips or falls, which could lead to serious injuries. Consider the following recommendations to prevent slip and fall injuries this winter:

  • Wear the proper footwear that provides traction on snow and ice. Footwear should be made of anti-slip material; avoid plastic and leather-soled shoes or boots.
  • Exercise caution when entering and exiting vehicles, and use the vehicle for balance and support.
  • Try to walk only in designated areas that are safe for foot traffic. If you notice a walkway is covered in ice, walk on the grass next to the sidewalk, which will have more traction.
  • Avoid inclines that are typically difficult to walk up or down, as they may be more treacherous in winter conditions.
  • Take small steps to maintain your center of balance, and walk slowly – never run. Despite the cold temperatures, avoid putting your hands in your pockets. This will help you maintain your balance and allow you to break a fall should you slip.
  • Use handrails, walls or anything stationary to assist in steadying your feet.
  • Look ahead to the path in front of you to avoid hazards.
  • Test a potentially slippery area before stepping on it by tapping your foot on the surface first.
  • Steer clear of roof edges, floor openings and other drop-offs to avoid slipping hazards.
  • Dry your shoes or boots on floor mats when entering a building.
  • Report trip and fall hazards immediately to your supervisor.

If you feel yourself beginning to slip or fall on a snowy or icy surface:

  • Twist your body and roll backward to avoid falling forward and injuring your face.
  • Try to relax your body when you start to feel your legs give way.
  • Throw anything you are carrying off to the side so it does not land on you when you fall. This will also free your arms to help break your fall.

For more information on staying safe on the job amid winter weather, talk to your supervisor.