Business Parking Lot Hazards
Business Parking Lot Hazards
It only takes a second. An employee walks from the parking lot to the building and fails to see the ice on the ground. In the time it takes to blink, they slip, fall, and become injured or disabled. Unfortunately, this isn’t just an isolated incident. Accidents like this happen every winter.
Slips and falls are one of the main causes of injury for many businesses. People often overlook parking lots as a culprit, but there are several surprising outdoor slip and fall hazards that all businesses should address.
Cracked, Uneven Pavement and Potholes
Potholes in concrete not only create tripping hazards, but also collect water, which can refreeze and lead to a slip and fall accident. Repair potholes as soon as you can or fill them in with gravel as a temporary solution. Cracked or uneven pavement should also be repaired quickly. Provide warning markings or cones until the repairs are made.
Insufficient lighting in parking lots can mask slip and fall hazards, such as those potholes you haven’t fixed yet. For employees arriving early in the morning or leaving after dark, it’s important to ensure the parking lot is well lit so they can spot potential hazards.
Damaged Wheel Stops
Cracked, crumbling or misaligned wheel stops can cause a slip, trip, or fall because it’s easy for someone to overlook them. In fact, a wheel stop located in a handicap access area have resulted in a fatality. Mark all tire stops with brightly colored paint (Yellow is a good choice) and make sure they are in the correct location and in good condition.
Poorly Cleared Parking Lots
In the winter months, it’s crucial to remove snow and ice from your parking lots as soon as possible. Over forty percent of all slip and falls occur on snowy and icy surfaces. Inadequately cleared parking lots many times result in a slip or fall accident. Keep parking lots and sidewalks clear of slip and fall hazards before employees arrive for work and monitor them throughout the day during inclement weather. Place shovels and ice melt near doorways to facilitate snow and ice removal during the day.
When daytime temperatures reach the 40s and 50s, layers of ice will often form when melted snow refreezes after sundown. When removing snow, pile it in a way that prevents melting and running into walkways and parking lots. Applying sand or oil absorbent materials to wet areas can also help reduce potential for accidents.
Wearing the Wrong Shoes
Your shoes may not seem like a hazard, but wearing improper footwear, especially in the winter months, can and do cause problems. Poor footwear such as high-heels or shoes with worn soles don’t provide adequate traction. Employees should wear flat, slip-resistant footwear such as boots with good rubber-soles. Staff who want to wear high heels can always change shoes once inside the building. Many businesses provide removable ice cleats for employees who may have to spend a lot of time outside in the winter.
Don’t Forget Inspections
Slip and fall hazards can go unnoticed for months if you aren’t inspecting your parking lots. Routine inspections performed by building maintenance or security periodically walking around the parking lot looking for hazards can head off incidents. Also encouraging all employees to report any potential hazards or issues they may see is especially helpful.