Create a snow-specific safety training program before winter hits
Snow removal and management is unique in the service world due to the unpredictability of the weather. What you can predict, however, is that when you do start pushing snow, some major safety challenges and risks do arise. These include potential injuries to pedestrians, property damage, and risks to operators as well (for example, sleep deprivation). You need a snow-specific safety program that includes:
- Basic training and safety tips for operating equipment, especially for new operators, but important as refresher training each season for anyone who will get in a piece of equipment.
- A monthly safety refresher meeting during winter, to discuss with your operators any specific safety risks or occurrences that have come up.
- Create a checklist of safety-related items that your operators should check before they get in the equipment, including:
- Safety walk around, checking that all lights, backup lights beacons, and plow lights are fully operational
- Checking of all hoses and cutting edges to ensure integrity of the equipment
- Check tire pressure and fluid levels
- Examine spreader hoppers visually for obstructions
- Guidelines for operators when they are on a site, including acceptable plowing speeds, training for backing up appropriately, and pedestrian awareness and right-of-way training.
- Specific training and discussions about safe winter driving with equipment that is loaded down with plow/spreader/salt, including special coaching on increasing breaking distances due to increased vehicle weight.
- A specific policy for how many hours an operator is allowed to work before they are required to take a break.
- Rules on proper clothing that is appropriate for inside the equipment and outside in the elements.
Looking for more help? Visit www.sima.org/resources to access the official Snow Safety Training Kit from SIMA, in the Downloadable Documents section.
This tip was created by the Snow & Ice Management Association, Inc. and its website GoPlow.com and is made possible by Bobcat Company at www.bobcat.com.