Working in Winter – Safety Tips

HSE Principal Inspector of Construction Peter Black said: “For those working outdoors, the winter months bring additional challenges to keeping safe. Cold weather and shorter periods of daylight mean there is more potential for accidents to happen. With a little planning, and common sense, these can be avoided.”

 

Slips, trips and falls

Slips, trips and falls become much more common in wintry weather. The light change during the day can have a big effect on how well you can see hazards in and around the workplace so ensure that everywhere is well lit.

As the weather worsens, heavy rainfall, snow, ice and falling leaves all make for slippy ground so take care around workplace entrances, car parks and walkways that could be affected. Where possible, shovel areas where employees, clients or members of the public are likely to walk.

 

Frostbite/hypothermia

It’s particularly important to be aware of frostbite and hypothermia if you work outdoors. If temperatures do drop then dress for the lowest forecast temperature with plenty of layers. Fingers and toes are most prone to frostbite so ensure you wear gloves and waterproof boots, which will keep your feet warm and dry. Allow yourself frequent, short breaks to warm up and dry off throughout the day.

 

Driving

Employees who use the road for work should pay particular attention to the changing conditions and adapt the way they drive on journeys. Varied weather, traffic and road conditions can all be hazardous for drivers and could lead to accidents so allow plenty of time to travel, and question whether journeys are necessary if conditions get particularly bad.

Company vehicles should be fully checked and properly maintained to prepare for the winter months.

 

At work

During working hours the temperature must remain reasonable (around 16°C) in order for employees to work comfortably.

Employers have a duty of care and should keep in contact with workers during periods of bad weather to ensure that they are not taking undue risks with their safety when travelling into work. Employers could be liable if an employee is injured after being pressurised into coming into work in dangerous conditions.

Employers should ensure that they have robust safety procedures in place should an emergency arise in bad weather.

 

Working in winter doesn’t have to be dangerous if the proper precautions are taken.

Most accidents can be avoided with a little care and forward planning but if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself seriously injured and it wasn’t your fault then you may be able to make a claim. If you would like to speak with a member of our team to discuss you injury and see if you can make a claim then please give us a call on: 0161 904 4660

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