It’s the “Fall” Season, not the “Slip, Trip and Fall” Season

October is here and as we transition to the cold and snow that will soon be upon us, organizations need to prepare to make the transition to preventing fall and winter-related incidents. A safety culture that is strong will extend throughout all seasons of the year and not just the warmer months.

The service & hospitality sector reported over 400 fall-related injuries to the WCB in 2019. Slips, trips and falls happen all-year-round, however, winter ice and snow in Saskatchewan create a more hazardous environment that can increase the risk of injuries to workers.

Having a proactive approach in your safety management system will help address the issues and minimize the potential costs that could result from a work-related injury. One proactive approach would be to update the organization’s inspection checklist to reflect the season the organization is in. If an organization is only inspecting the workplace in the summer months, they may not notice potential winter hazards.

For example, if an OH&S committee is inspecting the exterior of a building in the hot, dry summer months, they may not be aware that the eavestrough has a small leak. In the wintertime – this small leak has now dripped and built-up ice on the sidewalk, leading to an employee slipping and injuring themselves.

Another proactive approach is near-miss reporting. Never underestimate the importance of a near miss! A near miss is an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness, or property damage but HAD the potential to do so. By having employees report their near misses to their supervisors or OH&S committees, you now have the ability to correct hazards prior to the incident occurring. Going back to our previous example, with the ice build-up; if a worker comes to work, slips, is not injured and reports right away, corrective action can be implemented. However, if a worker comes to work, slips, is not injured and does not report, then the hazard has not been controlled and no injury has been prevented. The next worker to walk on that patch of ice could slip, be injured, and now you have a work-related injury that could have been prevented.

Communication is KEY! Have those conversations with the employees in your organization. Post communication memos, encourage near miss reporting and complete seasonal inspections.

Service Hospitality is here to help you! Reach out today about our Workplace Inspections Training Course to help your organization prepare. 

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