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How Does The Winter Affect Health and Safety Measures?

1 February 2019

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Health and safety measures in the workplace are largely affected by the changing of the seasons. Dark nights and icy mornings can lead to an increase in workplace accidents such as slips and trips in the winter months.

TRUE Solicitors have come up with a list of the health and safety risks that are likely to arise from winter months, and which best practices can be implemented to help mitigate the chance of accidents happening.

Winter Health and Safety Hazards

It is important for businesses to reassess their health and safety procedures during the winter months. Hazardous weather conditions leading to icy pavements and fallen wet leaves are the main culprit for causing slips and trips in and around the workplace.

A great deal of accidents can be completely avoidable as long as the right prevention methods are in place. Follow our health and safety tips below to help keep your staff safe this winter:

Clear pavements of wet leaves

Piles of fallen wet leaves are a common problem during the autumn months, creating slip hazards and hiding other potential risks underneath. Ensure that pathways into the workplace are cleared of leaves to reduce the chance of staff slipping or falling.

Grit icy paths

Avoid the threat of employees slipping on icy paths or stairs by gritting the entrances to buildings, pathways and carparks. It is strongly advised to regularly monitor the weather forecast and grit areas the night before staff arrive into work the next day.

Ensure external areas are well lit.

Dark nights and mornings mean there is reduced visibility for employees as they walk, drive or cycle into work. Make sure that car parks, walkways and bike racks are well lit, to help eliminate the risks of staff falling or tripping due to poor lighting.

Wear reflective clothing

If staff are cycling or walking to and from work it is also a good idea to advise that they wear reflective and high visibility clothing, especially if their route involves isolated or wooded areas. Encourage employees to ‘buddy-up’ to avoid walking or cycling to work alone if possible.

Remind employees of the danger of winter driving hazards

It is advisable that employers have a winter driving policy in place for their employees who drive for work purposes. RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) have a comprehensive guide to winter driving, which can be downloaded and distributed to staff. In extreme weather conditions such as prolonged periods of snow and flooding, it is recommended to avoid driving altogether. Employees should permit working from home in these instances, should the nature of the business permit it.

Remind staff to complete the following checks on their vehicle before winter starts:

  • Brakes are in full working order
  • Battery is fully charged
  • Lights are clean and working
  • Tyres are in good condition- tread depth and pressure (including the spare tyre)
  • Fluids such as the oil, anti-freeze and windscreen wash are kept topped up
  • All windows and wiper blades are cleaned and the washer bottle is filled with screen wash

Encourage staff to remain fit and healthy

It is important to encourage staff to remain fit and healthy throughout the winter months. Certain illnesses can be made worse in the colder weather and the lack of sunlight can lead to Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) effecting many employees. It is important to ensure staff drink plenty fluids, regularly wash their hands, keep warm and take regular breaks throughout the day, ideally outside in the sunshine.

TRUE Solicitors are experienced in obtaining compensation for clients who have had an accident at work. If you’ve suffered from a physical injury due to a work-based activity get in touch with us today. We offer a an initial, free, no-obligation assessment of your case.

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