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'Tis the season to be safety-conscious

'Tis the season, as the song goes, and while we certainly hope you'll be jolly; we'd also like you to be safe.

'Tis the season, as the song goes, and while we certainly hope you'll be jolly; we'd also like you to be safe.

At Graymont, we pride ourselves on doing our utmost to provide our colleagues with the best health and safety training and with the safest possible workplace environments. We're aware, too, that we can always improve our safety behaviours and at this time of year - when the weather outside is frightful - we have to work even harder at being vigilant and staying safe. In the spirit of the season, we offer the following winter workplace safety tips (many of them apply to our homes, too).

Wear safety boots with non-slip, non-skid soles.

Wear waterproof gloves and keep your hands out of your pockets (this improves your balance which prevents falls).

Monitor the weather so you know what's coming.

Don't let snow or ice accumulate; clear it as soon as possible especially if it might be on scaffolds or roofs.

Always shovel and salt and/or sand entrance stairs, sidewalks and parking lots.

Make sure all exterior stairs; sidewalks and parking areas are well lit. It gets dark early during the winter months.

Store shovels and gloves where all personnel can access them easily.

Wear hardhats outdoors; they can protect you from ice falling or from head injuries in case of a fall.

Before the end of your shift, cover any ladders or scaffolds to keep them free of snow and ice.

Inspect any tools you're using to remove ice; make sure they're in good working order and not affected by the cold.

Follow proper procedures for safe lifting and shovelling (hint: stretch before, during and after).

Wear proper fall protection gear when clearing ice or snow from high places. Consider installing safety rails in these areas.

Mop up any interior areas near entrances that get wet and slippery.

May you and your families have a safe and joyous holiday season, and enjoy a healthy and happy 2018. Rob Beleutz is Graymont's Environmental Health & Safety Manager and David Chamberlain is the Giscome Project Manager.

(Photo: Graymont winter safety poster; coming separately)

(Italicized sidebar story with photo from Safety Challenge; coming separately)

We created the Graymont Safety Challenge as an innovative and inspirational way for employees to work in multi-disciplinary teams solving safety challenges with four basic steps: plan, play, learn and celebrate. It's been a huge success and last fall, there was so much enthusiasm for it, we offered the Safety Challenge Tool Kit on our website ( to other organizations that, like ours, are relentless in creating safer, healthier workplace environments.