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Keeping Staff and Patients Safe in Wintery Conditions

winter snow clearing
With winter coming up soon it’s not too early for healthcare facilities to start thinking about safety issues. Several safety hazards specific to the cold season arise. Snow and ice collects on sidewalks and in entrances. This can lead to people slipping and falling. OSHA has guidance for this which shows healthcare facilities how to minimize the risks. For example, snow and ice should be cleared as soon as possible from any walking surfaces. De-icing chemicals should be spread to slow down any further build up. Organizations are also responsible for advising employees and patients to wear the footwear that’s appropriate for the weather such as waterproof boots. Facilities can go a step further and put up signs in hazardous areas, warning pedestrians of the danger of slipping. Management should also be aware of local weather reports so that they can be prepared for bad weather before it arrives.

Winter also brings more flu, which is particularly dangerous for the elderly and the very young. Management should institute strict hand washing measures to prevent the spread as much as possible. Facilities for hand washing or surgical wipes should be provided, and staff given training about the importance of hand washing. The CDC has detailed guidelines for organizations to use.