Autumn brings the rich, beautiful colors of fall leaves. People spend hours during their weekends on driving or walking tours just to take in all the beauty. But as it gets colder, those leaves fall to the ground, creating a domino effect of slip hazard.
Deciduous trees like maples and oaks lose their leaves each fall. These present two problems for exterior walkways. First, the leaves collect in drains, clogging them. This means water overflows onto paths, making them slippery. Second, leaves collect and turn mushy from moisture and foot traffic. The decomposing leaves make it easy to fall.
When it rains, visitors and employees bring water into the office. It drips off coats, boots, shoes and umbrellas. Water collects on floors, especially at entryways. This can be a major hazard if you have floors made of tile, concrete or wood.
Establishing a regular cleanup schedule to get rid of leaves should be a topic included in any safety management course. This prevents them from building up on walkways around the building. Brooms, rakes and air blowers work well to get the leaves off surfaces that pedestrians use. Daily cleaning is essential. During windy spells, the work might need to be done several times a day.
Any areas where pedestrians routinely walk need to be monitored. Beside the areas around the building, spots like parking areas and the pathway from the parking lot to the building need to be kept free of leaf debris and water buildup.
Atrium style drain covers are more effective than flat ones in preventing leaves from clogging drains. If drains do get clogged, a maintenance crew or a plumber needs to clean it out quickly to minimize overflow.
Any time water covers a walkway there is a potential for slipping and falling. If that happens, immediately put out signs to warn pedestrians.
Keeping the Indoors Safe
Wet floors in an office are a major source of tripping and falling. To prevent the problem, limit the amount of water that gets tracked into the building. Educate workers with a safety management course about the hazards of wet floors and how to avoid slipping.
The worst spot is entryways. Rugs and rubber mats at entryways dramatically reduce the risk of slipping. If the flooring is particularly slippery, especially when wet, look into floor treatments that give it better traction.
Provide a drying area for umbrellas to keep them out of the office space and walkways within the building. Beside keeping floors drier, it is appreciated by visitors and employees. Also, be sure to provide long plastic bags at entryways for employees to slip their umbrellas into.
The leaves will fall and the rains will come. So be prepared with floor coverings, drain covers, scheduled maintenance, warning signs and by educating employees about the dangers.
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