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The leaves and the temperature are beginning to fall, a sure sign that Calgary’s winter is soon to arrive. Calgary’s winter climate, which swings from bitter cold, to blowing snow, to Chinook warmth creates a challenging environment in which to maintain snow and ice at your property.
Failure to properly address these challenging conditions may result in otherwise preventable slip and fall accidents occurring. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, over 27,000 workers are injured annually from slip or trip accidents.
Fortunately, with proper planning and risk assessment you can mitigate the hazards at your property. This requires addressing the floorscapes on both the exterior and interior of a property. Here are the top five floor care tips for maintaining a safe environment throughout the winter months:

  1. Attend promptly to snowfalls. Remove snow from all pedestrian walkways, and begin the removal process while the snow is still falling. Failure to do so results in more snow and slush being tracked inside, and may result in ice build-up and other slip and fall hazards.
  2. Choose your ice melt wisely. Ice melt is an essential tool in maintaining sidewalks and pathways, however consideration must be given to the traction offered by the product, its working temperature parameters, environmental impacts and possible chemical interactions with floor finishes at your site.
  3. Install entrance matting. Ten to fifteen feet of high-quality entrance matting will significantly reduce the amount of ice melt, snow, and debris being tracked further into the facility.
  4. Proper housekeeping is key. Assign your building staff to auto-scrub or mop high traffic areas while snow is falling, keeping the floor as dry as possible. Ensure entrance mats are lying flat and use only cordless equipment in these high traffic areas.
  5. Visibility is key. Always display wet floor signage in obvious, easily seen areas when wet conditions exist. This allows pedestrians to acknowledge the hazard and adjust their walking pattern to the conditions, a key factor in preventing slip and fall accidents.

Slips and falls are unfortunate and costly incidents that can be prevented with proper maintenance and mitigation strategies. Use these five tips to address floor care in Calgary’s challenging winter climate and you will be on your way to a safe winter season.
Posted on behalf of the BOMA Communications Committee

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