Slips, trips and falls: Ice and snow removal procedures

Numerous injuries occur on parish properties during the winter months as a result of slips and falls on icy or snowy surfaces. While some injuries may be minor in nature, there are also those that result in serious injuries to the head, arms, legs or back. Many of these injuries may have been prevented if an ice and snow removal program were in place.

Implementation of a program is important to ensure ice is properly treated and snow is removed from your premises prior to visitors/employees arriving for mass or any other function at your facilities.

In an effort to minimize injury on your property, the following maintenance recommendations offered by Catholic Mutual should be followed:

  1. Instruct your employees or schedule volunteers to arrive at the facility early enough to remove the ice and snow prior to other individuals coming onto the property.
  2. Maintain adequate supplies of ice melt and sand and have it available to make the walkways safe for foot traffic. A bucket of salt or sand with a scoop should be kept by the main doors of buildings that are used during times you are not available. You cannot always be there when weather worsens, so the supplies should be available where others can utilize them.
  3. Proper snow removal equipment is a necessity in removing ice and snow and should be readily available. If volunteers are utilized, proper training on mechanical equipment (i.e. snow blowers) is imperative.
  4. Pay special attention to areas where water drains off the roof and crosses walking paths to the buildings. These areas may require frequent monitoring as they can become “black ice” with a sudden drop in temperature or in the evening hours. Also, take extra care with walkways on the north side of your buildings or those that are consistently in the shade.
  5. Keep a maintenance log that will document shoveling, salting and sanding activities. This log could be kept on a clipboard near your shovels and ice treatment supplies for easy recordkeeping. We recommend these records be retained for at least three years. This documentation can also provide a strong defense when responding to allegations of negligence in the event someone is injured on your property. A sample Winter Maintenance Log is attached.
  6. Ensure you have an adequate number of floor mats located inside the entrance doors to your buildings for removal of excess moisture from shoes of individuals entering from the outside.