Prevent slips and falls with these parking lot safety maintenance guidelines.
Winter has finally passed, and spring is upon us. However, while the cold weather may have moved on, it oftentimes leaves behind damaging effects to outdoor surfaces. Winter weather can cause damage to your parking lots in the form of potholes, cracks, and deterioration to speed bumps, curbing and tire stops. Now is the perfect time to complete an inspection of your parking lot to determine if any damage has occurred and if repairs are necessary.
Performing maintenance now can prevent major costs in the future and reduce the chances of a slip and fall accident. These guidelines should be incorporated to prevent slips and falls in parking lots:
Parking Lot Surfaces
- These surfaces should be level and free of potholes and cracks.
- Any variance in the level surface greater than ¬º of an inch should be repaired.
- Cracks should be filled in and surfaces should be free from debris and slippery material, such as rocks, gravel, sand and mud.
Tire stops are exposed to damage from snowplows and vehicles. If a tire stop begins to deteriorate due to withstanding weather conditions, it can become a potential tripping hazard. If tire stops are present, the following should be true:
- They should be in good condition without any deterioration.
- Reinforcing rods used to anchor the stops should be flush with the top and sides.
- There should be at least three feet between wheel stops.
- They should not extend beyond the width of the wheels.
- They should be marked with a contrasting color, such as yellow.
Speed bumps used to slow the speed of vehicles also present a tripping hazard. These are usually constructed of asphalt and can break down quicker from being exposed to the weather and vehicles driving over them. If speed bumps are installed:
- They should be marked with a contrasting color so as not to blend in with the parking lot surface.
- Areas around speed bumps should be adequately illuminated so they do not become a tripping hazard in low light conditions.
- Speed bump signs should be installed to give warning of their presence.
- Curbs should be six inches high and continuous without any pitting, open sections or settling.
- Curbs leading to entrances and sidewalks should be painted a contrasting color.
- Curb cutouts that are installed to provide handicapped access also should be marked with contrasting paint, and grit should be added to the paint to create surface roughness.
Miscellaneous slip and fall hazards in parking lots that usually go unnoticed are often areas most likely for a slip and fall to occur. This includes the following:
- These are used to gain access to utilities. Covers should be present and flush with the surface.
- In parking lots, drains typically have wide openings to provide drainage. This creates a severe trip hazard, especially to those wearing high-heeled shoes. Grates should be in place, have openings no greater than ¬Ω inch and be painted a contrasting color.
- These form as a result of settling, construction or flooding and should be monitored and filled in.
For additional guidance on slip and fall prevention, or to develop an effective safety program for your business, click here to visit the Safety and Loss Control section of GunnMowery.com.