‘Tis the season to be on the lookout for dealership slip and fall hazards.  Slips, trips, and falls already constitute the largest source or workplace Injuries, but the introduction of ice and snow onto driveways and walkways raise the stakes considerably.

A dealer’s best defense is to increase awareness of the enhanced risk. Communicate the following to all departments:

  1. While service and detail departments are always subject to the risk of slippery floors, vehicles entering with melting snow and ice increase the problem, especially for service writers and customers when the vehicles first arrive.  Snowy, wet boots can also make sales and parts floors hazardous.
  2. While slip resistant footwear should be mandatory in the service department during all seasons, the service manager should especially check compliance during winter months.
  3. Equipment and supplies should be in place to salt, sand, squeegee, or shovel in all appropriate departments.  (Don’t neglect the outside access to the Parts Department where vendors come and go, often with dollies that don’t function well in snow.)
  4. Provide cones or sandwich boards to warn of slippery surfaces.
  5. Make sure that entry rugs are in place or scheduled to reduce slipping hazards at entrances and exits.
  6. Check lighting to make sure potential hazards are visible – especially as dusk approaches earlier.
  7. The hazards of this season provide another reminder that you should require proof of workers compensation from all vendors who access your property. If they are injured and not covered, you are their insurance.
  8. An employee in each department should be assigned to check slip and fall hazards at least twice a day until spring.  (Some employees will see this as excessive until you reinforce the idea that this is intended to protect them and their fellow employees.)
  9. Document these efforts to show your insurer that you are a preferred risk or to present to a jury to show that you are not negligent in your responsibilities.

OSHA reports that injuries from these sources constitute the majority of general industry accidents.  They result in back injuries, sprains, contusions and fractures.  And accidental deaths from falls are second only to auto accidents.

Many of your customers are not young and spry and the majority are not frequent visitors, so walking surfaces are not familiar to them.  When we recommend that you communicate the message to all departments, we believe that it should be reinforced weekly until you are comfortable that awareness of the risks has been absorbed.  It always pays for senior management to reinforce the message by pointing out deficiencies and congratulating best efforts.

ABOUT COMPLYNET:  Founded in 1994, ComplyNet has emerged as an automotive industry leader in compliance and risk mitigation solutions in the area of Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S), Sales, Finance, Information Security, and Human Resources.  ComplyNet combines its on-site services and its intuitive software-as-a-solution services to help dealerships, service centers, and body shops reduce risk, achieve compliance, and retain talent.  ComplyNet serves over 1,000 dealers across the United States, including multiple dealership groups in the top 150.