Be Prepared Before It Happens
What’s the main thing employers worry about? It’s whether or not employees can actually get to work and so if you’re a business which is reliant on your employees being physically there then the weather presents a big risk to your business. We all know in the UK one flake of snow can stop a train and create major travel havoc and so it’s better to deal with these things ahead of time. You should have an Adverse Weather Policy and within this, you’ll need to cover the safety of your employee during their commute, consider what is reasonable to ask them to do in order to get to work, what can you put in place to ensure their safety and still keep your business operational.
Keeping Your Employees Safe
Once your employee is safely at their place of work you still have plenty of responsibility for their safety and this increases when the weather takes a turn for the worst. Here are just some of the things you can do to keep your employees safe whatever the weather.
Autumn Leaves and Rain Showers
They’re beautiful we know, they’re also lethal as they not only present a slip risk themselves but they also obscure pathways and what’s underfoot meaning there’s double the chance of a slip or trip so ensure they are regularly cleared away. Likewise standing water can cause a big problem, make sure surfaces are slip-resistant and consider replacing them if they’re not - it could save you thousands in the long run! Consider entrances and exits? Is it possible to create a cover so water doesn’t collect and spread into the building, tiled and other slippery flooring options are popular in reception and lobby areas so consider large absorbent matting to soak up the rainwater from outside and keep both employees and visitors safe.
Light The Way
Take a good walk around your building at different times of the day, it’s dark in the morning and from around 4 pm in Winter - is there enough lighting? Both inside and outside the building? Are hazards easily avoidable or are there areas which can be improved, pay particular attention to dark spots where there may be a lack of natural light like stairwells or cloakrooms and don’t forget the outside areas including potential shortcuts - you can’t stop people using these so better to make them safe.
Ice, Ice Baby
Once the cold weather really takes hold, where are the areas of your building that present risk? Entrances, exits, car parks and walkways are just some of them. Start gritting early! Don’t wait for the ice to take hold, do it ahead of the forecast or when the floor temperature is at or below freezing, early evening and early morning are best - and before your employees arrive as it doesn’t work immediately.
Monitor the temperature to be prepared for extremely low temperatures or sudden changes in the weather and ensure you have a procedure in place to prevent icy surfaces forming and use warning signage and cones to keep your employees and your business safe.
Warm things up
There are no legal requirements to maintain a certain temperature in a place of work but you must consider how you will maintain a reasonable temperature at which your employees can comfortably work, taking into account the type of work and location. Measures could include provision of temporary heating, provision of additional clothing, additional breaks and provision of warm drinks.
Don’t stay out in the cold when it comes to keeping your employees safe this winter if you have concerns about how adverse weather may affect your business and employee safety help is at hand. Our expert team are available to guide the way, get in touch for a free consultation today.