De-Icing Outdoor Walking Surfaces
During winter months, keeping outdoor walking surfaces (sidewalks, parking lots, etc.) clear of ice and snow is crucial. Walking over snow or ice covered surfaces can be challenging and downright dangerous. Just like at home, keeping the walkways around your business clear of ice and snow will help protect you, your employees, and the general public from slips and falls.
In the winter, keep a close eye on the weather forecast to be prepared for any ice or snow. Have your de-icing tools, such as a chemical de-icing mixture and a shovel, ready in case inclement weather strikes without much notice. Keep extra warm and dry clothes, including boots, hat, and gloves, at your business so you are not left unprepared if you need to clear outdoor walking surfaces.
When the temperature drops below freezing or forecasts call for ice, sleet, or snow, apply a thin, even layer of de-icing mixture on outdoor walking surfaces before conditions occur. Once the icy conditions begin, add one or more layers. After conditions pass, apply one final layer. If snow is on the surface, shovel before applying de-icing mixture. If possible, shovel snow after every few inches instead of waiting for it to accumulate, adding to your workload.
When applying the de-icing mixture, wear thick mittens and a scoop to protect your hands and evenly distribute the mixture.
As you prepare to shovel and de-ice, you must keep yourself protected from winter weather risks, starting by knowing the initial signs of overextension, fatigue, frostbite, and hypothermia. Limit your time outside if it is extremely cold, wet, or windy. Before working outdoors, stretch to limit the potential for strains. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after working to stay hydrated.
Dress appropriately for the task. Wear warm, well-insulated shoes with plenty of traction. Bundle up in several loose layers of clothing, a warm hat, and mittens or gloves.
If an outside company is responsible for de-icing surfaces at your home or business, please work with them to develop contingency plans in the event that they are unable to preform the job. If you must close your business or change hours during winter weather, communicate the changes to employees and customers to keep everyone safe.