Long nights, inclement conditions, and lack of sleep – all of these can contribute to short tempers and disputes between snow team members. It’s important to not dismiss any potential incidents. What can start as minor disputes can escalate quickly depending on the personalities that are involved.
If you don’t already have one in place, a workplace violence prevention program, combined with engineering controls, administrative controls and training, should be a high priority. This is especially important for an employer who has experienced acts of workplace violence or becomes aware of threats, intimidation or other indicators of the potential for violence to exist.
Martyn Church, CSP, ASM, owner of Eco Snow Removal in Colorado, says the nature of the snow and ice management business can expose employees and subcontractors to violent and abusive situations. Following are a few steps to help you start building a workplace safety program.
- Create a zero tolerance workplace abuse/violence policy.
- Implement a workplace abuse/violence prevention program or incorporate this into existing operating procedures.
- Educate all personnel on how to recognize concerning behaviors and which behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable.
- Establish clear reporting procedures for field employees who may be threatened on site.
- Create multiple options for people to report unacceptable and potentially dangerous behavior.
- Educate supervisors and managers on how detect and defuse potentially bad situations.
- Create safe zones for office staff and field personnel.
- Implement an alert signal that can notify all personnel quickly and discreetly.
- Practice, much like you would a fire drill.
- Create an opportunity for staff to train with a self-defense instructor or local law enforcement.
Awareness is the best way to protect yourself and others. Nothing can guarantee that an employee will not become a victim of workplace abuse and violence, but by following these steps, the odds can be greatly reduced.
View all 2017 Snow Safety week articles and content here. Thank you to our sponsors Caterpillar, BOSS Snowplow, and RAM Trucks.
- Learn more about how to manage workplace conflict during a free webinar on Wednesday, October 25 at 3 p.m. EST. Register here.
- Workplace violence was a featured topic in the June issue of Snow Business magazine online. Read more here.