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Hazards of Autumn – Leaves, Frost, Deer and Darkness

- October 18, 2018 by Leslie Stoll, CSP, ARM (View all posts by Leslie)

In many parts of the country, autumn brings about new safety concerns including slip and fall hazards, extreme changes in weather conditions and less daylight. If you have employees that are working outside in the autumn weather, considering covering the following topics are your next safety meeting.

Leaves and frost can create slippery conditions, especially for people who work early morning hours. Most people haven’t switched over to their winter footwear since the temperatures have not dropped low enough, but having good traction on shoes is still important. When you discuss this hazard with your staff, ask everyone to look at the bottoms of their shoes.  Are they flat and worn? If so, encourage them to replace their shoes soon and if possible consider providing full or partial reimbursement for new shoes.

Besides getting your employees in good footwear, encourage them to remove wet leaves from their work area daily. They may even have to clear frost and ice from their work area as well. Providing them with ice melt and a rake or broom will make this task easier.

If employees have a large radius of travel during the day, make sure you start looking at the weather conditions for their entire region. A sunny day in Chicago can also be a wintery mix in Northern Indiana. Extreme temperature changes can also lead to overheating for some sensitive employees. Encourage everyone to dress in layers so they can shed outer wear when the 28 degree morning turns into a 60 degree afternoon.

Daylight hours are limited in the fall. This may mean arriving at the job-site before day break. Remind employees to use extra caution to prevent trip, slips, and falls and other claims related to not being able to see hazards.

Driving in the fall in rural areas also means driving around slow moving farm equipment. Remind employees that should only be passing slow moving vehicles in approved passing zones and only when it is safe pass. Remind them that arriving on time is not worth risking their life. For tips on driving during harvest season, check out our other blog, “Driving Risk During the Fall Harvest.”

Deer can also be an issue in the fall in both urban and rural settings. I’ve seen deer cross roadways in high traffic areas near Chicago, so remind your drivers to always be on the lookout for deer when driving by forested areas. You can find tips about avoiding deer in our other blog “Deer in the Fall.”


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