Winter Safety Tips

Six Steps to Improve Your Safety Performance this Winter

Caitlin Maddock-Bahr | Social Media & Digital Strategy Manager

Winter is coming. Are you ready to tackle the snow season? You’ve been researching all the latest tools, technologies and equipment. You have everything you need once the snow and ice hit to get the job done. But are you doing it safely?

The business of snow and ice removal is time sensitive – people rely on you to ensure that the world can keep moving, even when the snow (and the temperature) keeps falling. You have to get it done, get it done quickly and often at times when you’d normally be asleep. This industry rewards top performers as the ones who complete the job most quickly. The danger in that recognition model is that other employees may begin cutting corners in order to keep up – and that’s when safety is compromised.

Your employees are highly prone to slip and fall hazards, sleep deprivation and other unforeseen risks during winter storms. As we head into Snow Safety Week, I want to challenge you to think about how you are working safety into your daily conversations. If I were to ask you to name the top five most important things to your organization, what might you list? Quality...productivity...safety...etc. Of course safety makes the list, but then tell me what activities you do on a daily basis that you are measured by, that contribute to those things that your business values. Are safety-focused activities actually included, or is it more of a passing ”Be safe out there today!” conversation?

Last year, SIMA surveyed the industry to identify the most common types of incidents that result in injury and lost work time. Over 60% of them were a result of slipping and falling – the exact thing you’re out there trying to prevent others from doing. Driving a culture of safety requires a commitment from leadership and developing a process that involves everyone in the organization.

I recently caught up with Doug Giesinger, one of our Safety Culture Consultants with Caterpillar Safety Services, to learn more about how every organization can work toward a culture of zero-incident performance. The Caterpillar Safety Services team offers safety consulting services focused on facilitating sustainable safety performance through the six-step ZIP™ (Zero-Incident Performance) Process. Doug and I spent some time walking through those steps as they relate to the snow and ice industry:

  1. Engage Leadership

    Get a firm commitment from your organization’s leadership by setting up a roundtable discussion where you talk about the principles of zero-incident performance and how they can impact your employees and your work.

  2. Assess the Culture

    Doug says safety perception surveys, qualitative interviews and/or worksite assessments are conducted to assess the health of an organization’s culture and how things play out on a daily basis. This not only identifies the strengths of your culture, but also the job hazards that your employees face and safety processes that need improvement.

  3. Build the Plan

    Use what you’ve learned in your assessment to develop a strategic plan. Think about how you can elevate safety management processes in your organization and continue to build commitment across all levels.

  4. Develop the Processes

    Doug suggests engaging your workforce to resolve issues and improve processes, and build the necessary accountability structure. You’ll also need to develop leaders through a number of training workshops to provide them with the skills to support culture change.

  5. Implement the Processes

    This is where you implement changes identified in the development step. Those changes may be as simple as addressing exposed hazards to implementing safety process changes identified by an employee team.

  6. Check the Processes

    What gets measured gets done! Checking progress against your strategy, implementation and cultural perception provides you with data to evaluate the positive impact and hold everyone accountable.

The Caterpillar Safety Services ZIP Process is a formula for continuous improvement that our team has implemented worldwide in a variety of industries. In an industry like snow and ice removal, your job is to make an unsafe environment as safe as possible. Before you head out into the elements this winter, take some time with your teams to address their safety in the field – establish a culture of continuous safety improvement so that we drive toward zero-incident performance this season.

Find more information about Caterpillar Safety Services at cat.com/safety.


On The Level: Snow and Ice

Caitlin Maddock-Bahr

Caitlin Maddock-Bahr

Social Media & Digital Strategy Manager

Caitlin Maddock-Bahr exercises her storytelling expertise as a social media & digital strategy manager. In this role, she not only helps Caterpillar connect with their audience, but helps customers connect with the brand.