Safe Removal of Snow & Ice
Whether or not you are located in a region where snow is commonplace, it is important to make sure that staff are prepared to safely manage the accumulation of snow and ice and minimize the risk of injury.
When removing snow from walkways, parking lots and other ground-level locations, train staff on the following preventive measures:
- Dress appropriately, including winter footwear, gloves, a hi-visibility vest and multiple layers of warm clothes.
- Stretch and warm up your muscles before getting started. Start slowly and take frequent, short breaks.
- Use the right shovel for the conditions—smaller blades and bent handles help to minimize strain. It’s a good idea to have several shovels on hand for different staff members.
- Schedule regular snow and ice clearance efforts throughout the day, to prevent build-up and compaction of snow and ice.
- Watch out for back injury: Train staff on safe lifting and use similar techniques (bend at the knees, push the snow where possible, etc.) when shoveling snow.
- Work in teams and switch out team members as needed. Encourage staff to pay attention to each others’ well-being and to promote sensible breaks and self-care.
Snow and Ice Removal from Roofs and Elevated Areas
Much like snow shoveling, many of the same preventive measures apply when removing snow and ice from roofs or elevated areas. It’s important to dress warmly, and choose the right equipment for the job. Additionally, make sure your teams understand and are executing the following safety measures:
- Where possible, avoid going on the roof and instead work from the grown using a roof rake. Make sure there is a clear path behind you in case you need to step back in a hurry.
- Make a plan before starting work, and make sure that all staff know the location of any hidden hazards like skylights or vents.
- Make sure the roof can carry any additional load before setting foot on it, and mark the edge of the roof to avoid falls.
- Work in teams, including someone positioned on the ground to monitor work and alert anyone on the roof to hazards or unsafe conditions.
- Use a personal fall arrest system whenever railings are not available, and make sure it is tied off to a secure point.
- If in any doubt, hire an insured professional to perform snow and ice removal from elevated locations.