Spring has finally sprung, and the change of seasons is a good time to inspect the outside grounds around your facility. Safety issues that could cause dangerous falls for employees, customers or students become apparent after the snow melts and the temperature begins to rise.
An inspection team made up members of your organization’s safety committee or maintenance staff should take the time to walk around the outside of your buildings to make sure your parking lots and sidewalks are in good condition.
Potholes and sidewalk cracks
The freezing and thawing that occurs during winter can damage parking lots and sidewalks. As temperature thaw, potholes in parking lots and deep cracks in sidewalks often pop up like dandelions. Potholes are not only a danger to vehicles but also a safety hazard for people walking across your parking lots. Inspect sidewalks to ensure there are no cracks greater than 1/4 inch and check for depression cracks or bumps in sidewalks and curbs that need either immediate or future repair.
Natural hazards can cause falls
Weather also can damage trees and shrubbery around your buildings. Check to see if there are any trees overhanging your parking lots and sidewalks that need to be trimmed or pruned. Clear any fallen leaves, seeds, berries or acorns from sidewalks and check that tree roots are not cracking and uplifting the sidewalk, creating a tripping hazard.
Leaves often clog gutters and cause water to pool on the ground below. Check your roof and building drainage system to make sure water can flow freely down and away from the building and any walkways. If there is water pooling in an area where people walk and could slip, block off the area and address the problem immediately.
Check for tripping hazards
In addition to conditions caused by weather, inspectors should also take notice of any issues that could cause tripping hazards such as problems with outdoor lighting, stairs and handrails. Check for spills or leakage of vehicle fluids in parking lots or any leakage near garbage containers that could cause people to slip.
Of course, just because the calendar says its spring, in parts of the country, the possibility for wintry weather still exists. If there is still ice on your sidewalks, be sure to continue applying salt or ice melt and clear walkways of any lingering snow.
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