Avoid winter health & safety woes with these tips

Anthony Hoey

December 17 2019

Health & safety risks increase during the winter months. Severe weather conditions can make it hazardous for employees to drive and access work. Maintaining a good level of health is also difficult.  

As an employer, you owe a duty of care to provide a safe place of work for your employees during winter. Thus, at this time of year, you need to be even more health & safety conscious.

Prevention and preparation, as always, are the best policies when it comes to winter safety. With that in mind, we’ve put together some top tips to help you maintain workplace safety during the dark winter months.

Access to your premises

Slips, trips and falls are no laughing matter. They’re also more likely during winter. Take the entrance to your premises for example. Is it well-lit? During the winter months, employees will likely be arriving and leaving work when it’s dark, increasing the likelihood of a trip.

Do wet and decaying leaves gather on the route to work? Are footpaths outside your premises gritted? Factoring adverse weather conditions into your risk assessments will ensure relevant precautions are in place to prevent possible accidents.

Driving

Under health & safety law, you’ve to ensure that staff who drive for work are fit, competent and capable of handling winter conditions. The easiest way of guaranteeing this is through training.

Your duty to provide a safe place of work for your employees includes ensuring work-related journeys are safe. That means that staff who drive are safe and that all vehicles are fit for purpose and roadworthy.  

The risk of a costly road collision is higher during the winter months, so relevant precautions are vital.

Colds and flu

Colds and flu quickly spread during the winter months and thrive in colder conditions. Adequate ventilation and appropriate temperatures can help prevent the spread of sickness.

Prevention is the best cure for colds and flu. So, consider providing employees with the flu vaccine and proactive hygienic measures. Distributing hand sanitiser is another simple prevention tip.  

Staff wellbeing

Remain aware that employees may need extra support during winter months. Think SAD (Stress, Anxiety and Depression), and put an open door policy in place. Any issue an employee comes to you with should be taken seriously. Assure them you will prioritise the issue and do what you can to reduce stress.

Severe weather policy

Ensuring that employees are not required to undertake a hazardous journey to work is your responsibility. For instance, public transport may not be in operation. If you still ask employees to work, they may suffer an accident. If that happens, you face an increased risk of an employee claim.

With storms becoming a regular feature of the winter months, developing your own internal policy is recommended. It will confirm what employees should do in storm conditions and how to remain safe.

Need our help?

If you would like further complimentary advice on health & safety, our advisors are ready to take your call any time day or night. Call us on 1890 252 923 or request a callback here.

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