Written by Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Specialist
When the temperatures start to increase and the days seem to last longer and longer, we begin to settle into a new season. However, before we begin to become too comfortable with the new season, we should always ensure that we tidy up the hazards that were brought in from winter. Winter can be hard on equipment, buildings, roads, the environment, and even us. Which is why it is important that we assess any damages every year around this time. Looking at the surface of parking lots, sidewalks, and other surfaces around our work environments is critical to ensuring that no twisted ankles happen. We should also inspect our winter equipment so that it gets stored away properly and won’t cause any issues come next winter. Lastly, inspect the grounds of your company to ensure that no foreseeable accidents may occur.
We all know that winter is hard on the roads. Between salting the roads, ice expanding cracks in the pavement, snow shoveling, and plow trucks, it’s amazing that there is anything left once all the snow has melted. But once all the snow has melted, this becomes the perfect time to inspect these surfaces for any holes, substantial cracks, or even shifts in the level of the surface. These are common hazards that contribute to several rolled ankles, broken bones, and even litigations each and every year. While it might be tempting to just throw some asphalt to level out the surface, the right way is to properly clean out the hole, crack, or uneven surface; fill in any deep holes with a proper pack up to about 2 inches below the surface level, making a good base and compact it down; determine how much liquid asphalt you need; then lay down enough asphalt to compact down and make level. If desired, you can coat the whole surface before the next winter and you will never notice that the hole, crack, or uneven surface was even there.
At the end of each winter, it is always a good idea to inspect all winter equipment for damage, check for preventative maintenance, and verify any safety equipment. For snow blowers, check the cables, rotor blades, and scraper. For snow plows, inspect all hydraulics for leaks or the start of any leaks. Inspect all frame components, headlights, connectors, blade, springs, etc. Additionally, while it may be tempting to just put all tools and equipment away for summer, it is wise to wash off any salt, debris, mud, or anything else, as this may cause the equipment to rust while in storage and become a bigger hazard for winters to come.
While most trees are unbothered by cold winters, older trees or trees that are more susceptible to the cold can become critically damaged during deep freezes. If you have any trees on your company’s property, they should be inspected around this time and evaluated to determine if there are any branches (or the whole tree) that needs to come down due to a risk of it falling. Signs you should look for are significant loss of branches, trees leaning, damage to 25 percent of the tree or more, or parts of the tree not starting to grow. All tree trimming and removal should be done by professionals.
Hazards are always going to be present throughout the year. It is up to the employer to ensure that not only the employees are being safe, but the environment and equipment that they are working with and around are also safe. Doing seasonal shift inspections are a great way to always ensure that you are prepared for the upcoming season.
If you are interested in any form of assistance with safety or compliance inspections for your company, please contact Daniel Aday at email@example.com.