Every employer needs to take measures to provide a safe work environment for their employees (and visitors to the premises) throughout the year. This can be more challenging in the winter months, especially if you have employees that work outside. So, what are some steps that you can take to provide a safe work environment at this time of year? Keep reading for a few ideas that will hopefully help to prevent accidents and provide reassurance.
Provide Suitable Protective Workwear
First, you want to make sure that you are providing suitable protective workwear to your team. This could include things like work gloves, insulated boots, high-vis jackets and helmets. You need to ensure that you are investing in quality items and have a policy in place for wearing these items when working. You should also encourage your team to dress warmly if they work outside with plenty of layers. A waterproof top layer is also important.
Prevent Slips, Trips & Falls
Slips, trips and falls are one of the most common accident at work and can be more common in the winter months. Snow, ice and even rain can make surfaces slippery and a slip, trip or fall can be an incredibly serious and even fatal accident. Therefore, you need to do all that you can to prevent this kind of accident from happening in the first place. It is not always easy, but you should try to make sure that walkways are not slippery before people arrive at work each day. You should also place signs for any hazardous areas so that people know to avoid these areas.
Make Sure That There are Warm Areas
It is also important that there are spaces where employees can escape the cold/wet weather to. You need to have warm, dry areas where staff can recover from being outdoors – it is also a good idea to have hot food and drink facilities and heating devices. You need to make sure that your employees are taking regular breaks to get out of the cold and also that people are aware of the signs that someone is suffering from the cold. A few symptoms of hypothermia to be wary of include:
- Loss of coordination
- Slurred speech
- Memory loss
- Blue skin
- Fast breathing
If you have workers that are showing worrying symptoms then you need to ensure that they get medical attention as soon as possible.
Every employer needs to provide a safe and healthy work environment for employees. This can be more challenging during the winter months, especially if your team works outside. You do not want to put your staff at risk or see them suffer in the cold/wet weather, so you want to take action to manage the conditions and create a safe work environment.