Facility safety is a crucial part of any maintenance plan. No doubt your regular facility maintenance team is capably keeping the walkways clear, the handrails secured, and the HVAC system running smoothly. But in the yearly hustle and routine, it can be all too easy to lose sight of seasonal safety concerns. As the weather begins to turn cold, outdoor safety becomes a particularly serious matter for any commercial facility. Particularly those that serve a large number of customers or clients each day.
Winter Slip and Fall Risks
Winter time and the pavement ice it brings are the number one cause of both employee and customer slip-and-fall accidents. Whether someone is stepping out of their car, walking across the parking lot, or taking the few short steps up to your front door, a single misstep could lead to a serious injury. Businesses should be doing everything they can to reduce the chances that someone could get hurt on their sidewalks, grounds, and parking lot pavements.
Traction Strips and Handrails
For many businesses, the full extent of their effort to secure the outside of the facility occurred during the facility construction phase. Ideally, there are rough traction strips on any stairs and handrails provided to help anyone who is unstable on their feet make it inside safely. These two precautions combined can at least make any steps more safe to traverse but they by no means ensure that people cannot slip when approaching or leaving the building.
Salting the Pavement
In regions where pavement salting is common, commercial facilities go out of their way to salt the sidewalks leading to their front doors and many facilities take the time to salt most of the parking lot as well. Salt provides two different services when it comes to preventing slip and fall cases. First, it provides a certain amount of traction, allowing the soles of shoes to find a grip without slipping on the ice. Salt is also a melting agent, breaking up the accumulated layers of ice on the pavement until, ideally, all that is left is damp pavement and helpfully course little pieces of salt for optimal traction.
Lighting is the Final Key to Exterior Safety
However, handrails and pavement salt cannot solve 100% of the slip-and-fall risk brought on by ice during the winter. There are always small segments of pavement where the ice has managed to reform and much of your parking lot is far from the handrails near the doors. This is lighting and is the final key to your facility business safety during the icy winter.
Both employees and customers alike are far more likely to be safe if they can see where every foot is landing and whether or not there is slick ice underneath. Many people who live in the colder climates do know how to walk carefully on ice, but only if they can see it. Ample exterior lighting in the form of floodlights on the buildings, lanterns on the grounds, and pillar parking lot lights among the cars will ensure that anyone who must step on a patch of ice either in the parking lot or elsewhere will be able to see exactly where their foot is about to land and compensate accordingly.
Stepping on a patch of ice in the dark significantly increases the chances of a slip and fall injury while a well-lit commercial building exterior can help you prevent injuries. Not only will staff and clients be able to see where they are going, your salting team will also have a better view including icy areas that need their salting efforts the most. For more tips about how to use exterior commercial lighting to prepare for winter slip and fall risks, contact us today!