Potential safety risks in the workplace increase as the wintry weather commences. With the right preparation both employers and employees can prevent any injuries before they occur.
To help you look after your workforce we’ve created health and safety tips designed to help you through the winter season.
Slippery Surfaces: According to statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), slips and trips are the most common cause of workplace injury. Wet weather makes surfaces more slippery while darker nights make hazards harder to see. To reduce the risk of slip and trips, slippery (or potentially slippery) surfaces need to be well maintained. Ensure a member of staff is responsible for indoor areas to look after the drying-up of floors and ensuring that slippery areas are clearly marked.
Ensure sure your external paths are regularly cleared of ice and snow and that these are gritted if needed. You should also have suitable entrance mats and matting in place to remove debris from shoes and reduce slip risk.
Lighting: To prevent slips and trips, you need to make sure employees have a well-lit working environment, which is harder to do in the winter months and darker nights. Survey the outdoors and indoors of your premises and identify where additional lighting could be installed. Speak to members of staff and see if they struggle with visibility in any parts of their workspace and add additional lighting where needed.
Office uniform: If you provide a uniform for your workforce, it’s important to make sure their clothing is warm and suited for the work they are undertaking. For staff working outside, make sure to provide them with waterproof workwear and coats and jackets to keep them warm and dry. Employees working indoors may still feel cold and draughts, so offering them warmer options for their uniforms, like a workwear fleece will keep them warm, and reduce the risk of illness.
Driving Conditions: Whether employees drive to work or driving is their job’s main component, they must remain vigilant in wintry conditions. If driving is unsafe, do not let employers take the risk. In a good workplace safety culture, employees understand winter safety as everyone's responsibility. If the weather allows travel, encourage employees to plan journeys, for instance, bypassing rural and potentially untreated roads, factoring in extra time, missing peak times, and avoiding steep hills. Inform your staff to prepare their vehicles before travel. The Royal Association for the Prevention of Accidents advises to check:
- Lights are working
- Battery is charged
- Windscreen and wipers are clean, with a full washer bottle
- Tyres are in good condition
- Brakes are working well
- Anti-freeze and car oil are topped up
Published on 2 Feb 2020