26th November 2018
Is Your Business H&S Ready for Winter?
Each year businesses undergo challenges when winter arrives. Workers complain of being cold, vehicles get stuck, equipment breaks down and external areas get slippery.
After the particularly good weather this summer, early signs of frost as winter approaches might therefore come as a shock to the system. Preparing early will make the transition more comfortable and reduce the risks of accidents and ill health.
The first job is to fit in those external maintenance tasks you’ve been putting off. Leave it until the cold weather kicks in and not only will maintenance workers be disgruntled, they’ll also be at increased risk working in foul weather.
Consider increasing your spend on external maintenance to combat higher risk of slips and falls; clean paths and steps power wash decks, clear leaves, etc. Read our blog last year on this topic click here
Plan for gutter clearing as soon as the leaves have finished falling. This way you’ll avoid icy patches on the paths where water has overflowed.
If you have mature trees on site and you haven’t had them regularly inspected, get a competent person to check them over.
Finalise your snow and ice plan by using a safe system of work document and pull together the materials and equipment needed to deliver it. (FYI we covered the legalities of gritting and snow/ice clearing in an earlier blog click here )
It’s rarely possible to ensure you have clear paving or tarmac at all times, so have barriers, cones and signs available to direct pedestrians and drivers away from those parts of the site which have not yet been made safe.
Check that you have floor mats where needed to absorb water brought in on footwear and coats.
Ensure that company vehicles are prepared for colder weather.
In the gloom
As the nights draw in, workers and visitors will be arriving and leaving in the dark. To improve personal safety and reduce the risks of tripping fix any defective lights.
Carry out a test of all your exterior lighting. Whilst you’re there, have weather seals on junction boxes and lighting units checked too.
If you’re aware of areas of poor lighting, now’s the time to add some luminaires. You might also consider improved controls, e.g. lights triggered by movement rather than someone having to flick a switch.
The autumn is also a good time to check your heating system and if it’s been switched off until now – get it checked out by a GAS Safe Registered contractor.
Finally – To combat the cold and ‘flu season, consider installing hand sanitiser stations at entrances and have handles and rails cleaned frequently. This has been shown to reduce the spread of germs and illnesses.