How to ensure your employees are working safely throughout winter
During the winter months, the risk of illness and injury at work tends to rise, particularly for those working outdoors, such as on a construction site. Adverse weather, lower temperatures and reduced visibility all make it more difficult to stay warm, safe and aware of what’s going on around us. As an employer, it is your legal responsibility to ensure steps are taken to protect your staff and prevent health issues and accidents.
Fortunately, with a little forward planning and careful consideration, many accidents and health issues can be avoided. From assessing the risks your staff face in their work lives throughout winter to taking out the right insurance in case anything serious does happen, there’s plenty you can do to keep your team safe throughout the most dangerous period of the year.
Here, we explore a few of the steps you should take to keep your staff safe throughout the winter months.
When the risk to health and safety increases, it’s your responsibility as an employer to put protocols in place to mitigate these risks. However, in order to do this, you’ll need to carry out a number of risk assessments to identify the areas of concern and determine what you can do to prevent an incident.
Your HR department should have a risk assessment form to guide you through the process, but if not, the HSE website has a number of templates to help get you started.
During winter, drivers often find themselves driving in the dark, when visibility is reduced, and dealing with adverse weather conditions such as snow, ice and torrential rain. All these factors could increase the risk of an accident happening, so it’s important to be prepared in case something does go wrong.
If your employees have to transport goods as part of their role, you should ensure you take out adequate transport insurance to protect them and your business in the event of an accident.
It’s crucial to ensure your employees are appropriately attired, particularly when working outside during the winter months. Working in harsh conditions without the proper protection could make your staff feel uncomfortable, which could affect their ability to concentrate and perform properly.
You could also be putting your employees at risk of illness or a serious condition such as hypothermia if they are working outside in poor weather without adequate clothing to keep them warm and dry.