Canadian Occupational Safety

September/October 2020

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

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Page 37 of 51

38 S P O N S O R E D S P E C I A L F E A T U R E / P P E ICE CLEAT POLICY: TACKLING THE 'GREY AREA' Geroline president Ryan DeCaire explains how industries and companies can improve their ice cleat policy to optimize worker safety. The findings are based on a survey of more than 10,000 end users across North America area. With this data in hand, safety professionals can implement policy that merges prevention, perception and products to protect their teams. The following is a summary of our questions and findings: 1. Do you have an ice cleat policy that mandates winter traction aids on the job? If so, when are your teams required to wear ice cleats — i.e. temperature, weather conditions, time of year, etc? Encouragingly, more than 80% of respondents already have an ice cleat policy in place. Among respondents with an existing ice cleat policy, 85% mandate the use of ice cleats while only 15% recommend, but do not require, ice cleats. The grey area was often exposed on this question with responses such as "winter cleats are to be worn when conditions warrant their use" or "ice cleats are required whenever our employees are in an area that cannot be cleared of icy conditions." We found that best practices varied by geography. For example, across much of Alberta, snow and ice are virtually guaranteed from early fall IN In May, we received a question from a forward-thinking safety professional who was grappling with persuading his team to buy in to the company's ice cleat policy (it may even sound familiar to you): "Hello, I was wondering if someone could help me. Have any industries or companies shared with you their cleat policy? We have too many people that want to argue the 'grey area' about when to wear their cleats and when not to. Any help would be awesome!" As a thought leader in winter traction, we frequently hear about struggles with the grey area around ice cleat policy. Here are a few anecdotes: "We mandate ice cleats, but somehow they're always 'forgotten'" in the truck when a slip-and-fall injury occurs." "We use the full-foot type, but the floors inside kept getting damaged, so we spent $12,000 on benches last year so people could put them on and take them off when they walk in and out of the plant." Here is the black and white of it: Winter slips and falls are problems that persist in nearly every industry from construction to mining to couriers to home-care providers. To address this pervasive issue, the grey area around ice cleat policy needs to be coloured in with thoughtful benchmarking and a proactive approach. At Geroline, we entered the conversation by asking more than 10,000 end users across North America to tell us about their ice cleat policies. Our aim was to determine best practices for the purpose of helping safety professionals tackle this grey until mid-spring. Taking this into account, a safety leader at Tornado Global Hydrovac always requires everyone on site to have their ice cleats on during specific months of the year, irrespective of current conditions: "We use the K1 models. Workers put them on and leave them on after the first icy conditions of the fall season. The ice cleats are rotated downward as needed until April 1. If icy conditions return after April 1, workers need to put them back onto their boots for another two weeks." With the proper equipment, this approach to policy is effective for every industry and every geography. Still, some regions have winter conditions that can vary considerably throughout the season. When developing ice cleat policy for highly variable winter conditions, a slightly different approach may still be effective. Jesse at Shell Catalysts and Technologies told us about "Cleat Days": "Yes, we require either ice cleats or approved shoes for ice wear. We declare 'Cleat Day' on certain winter days, usually when there is fresh snow or accumulation is not cleared from most "Cleats, like all PPE, are the last line of defence. Included in this policy is the practice of reporting areas that need snow/ice removal." Jesse, Shell Catalysts and Technologies walkways. Cleats, like all PPE, are the last line of defence. Included in this policy is the practice of reporting areas that need snow/ice removal (we have machinery on site) and we also provide shovels and salt so that employees can help resolve slick areas themselves." Another approach that builds on this policy comes from Scott at Husky Energy who publishes measurable guidelines to determine when ice cleats must be worn in variable winter conditions: "When the ground temperature is less than 0 degrees Celsius, security will activate the ice cleat sign on the safety bulletin board. If the temperature is increasing, security will check the ground temperature at pre-determined locations. If the ground temperatures in all locations are greater than 0 degrees Celsius, the ice cleat sign will be deactivated." Each of these policies tackles the grey area by taking prevailing weather conditions into account and leaving little room for interpretation in the field when conditions require winter traction. 2. How do you balance efficiency and safety when your team is transitioning outdoors to indoors while wearing ice cleats? When considering this dilemma for ice cleat policy, we found three primary concerns: (i) preventing indoor slip and fall incidents caused by the metal studs sliding on tile or concrete, (ii) ensuring that ice cleats are always attached to footwear when the employee is actually outside and (iii) making ice cleats as user-friendly as possible. The most common solution

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