Your essential health & safety winter checklist

health & safety winter checklist

Preparing for a late, cold winter

It’s official, December 2015 was the mildest and wettest on record since 1910. However, The MET Office have confirmed that they don’t expect the mild temperatures to continue into spring, and are warning of a late, cold winter. We have already seen proof of this with heavy snowfall across western Scotland, north-west England, the Midlands, and south-east England in the past couple of weeks.

Last week, in their first guest post, Arthur J. Gallagher gave us lots of sensible and straightforward advice on ways to winter-proof your business. To make this simpler, we’ve created our own winter checklist to help you prepare for more cold spells ahead.

Read on or click here to download your winter checklist poster!

Where to start?

Signing up to The Met Office severe weather warning service is a great place to start. This way you won’t forget to check the forecast and will be alerted of local weather threats so that you can plan indoor work for that day.

Sign up here - http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/guide-to-emails

Secondly, check your contractor insurance policy. Are you covered for incidents caused by wintry conditions? Not every insurance policy is created equal and you can’t afford to be caught out - read the small print!

Your workplace

Legally, the indoor temperature in a workplace must not be lower than 16 degrees Celsius, or if work involves rigorous physical activity, the temperature must not be below 13 degrees Celsius.

Boilers always seem to break down in winter – when we need them the most! Don’t wait for that to happen. Call in a professional to service your boiler, additional heating equipment and/or air conditioning now; they’ll pick up any potential problems before they cause havoc. After all, the last thing you want to do is send your staff home if temperatures plummet and your boiler breaks down.

Rock salt, or grit as it’s commonly known, is very great for reducing slips and falls when spread in areas like your car parks and walkways.

  • Order a supply of rock salt and make sure you store in a dry location
  • Remember to re-spread your salt regularly to maintain its effectiveness
  • Identify someone in the team who can arrive early if there’s been a snow storm to clear pathways and entrances

Outdoor workers

Outdoor workers also need to be reminded how to dress to prevent hypothermia, frostbite and other forms of cold stress. Hats, waterproof boots and insulated gloves should be worn, and layering is the best method of keeping out the chill. Take a look at this article for the definitive 101 guide to dressing for the cold… http://www.initiafy.com/news/preparing-your-contractors-for-cold-weather

Specific personal protective equipment (PPE) is required for outdoor workers in cold conditions. Make sure you regularly inspect your winter PPE for damage – if it’s been damaged the waterproof and thermal properties of the clothing will be compromised. Using a professional repair service could save you money.

Make sure any employees who spend long hours working outdoors are aware of the signs of cold stress. This way they can identify if and when they, or their co-workers, are at risk. This article may be useful… http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/coldstress/

Keeping your workers hydrated and warm with a supply of hot drinks is also an essential!

Transportation

Consider your company fleet of vehicles. If you rely heavily on your fleet, giving your vehicles a winter service and/or exchanging regular tyres for snow safe tyres, could make a real difference to your mobility. Although it’s an obvious one, don’t forget to top up your anti-freeze!

If travelling to work is not possible, discuss the possibility of working from home with your office-based staff. Do they have home broadband? What IT equipment do they have/need? Can you train your employees to log into an online access point? Etc.

Finally, create a cascade list to use in the event of an office closure. Everyone needs to know who to contact if their workplace cannot open, or if they are unable to travel to work.
 

Remember, failing to prepare is to prepare to fail!

If you have any extra tips, please share them with us on Twitter

Post date: 20 Jan 2016

Back to listing page