Click here to see latest events

How To Protect Your Business During The Winter Months

We’re now waking up to more frosty mornings, icy pavements and the first snowfalls. As winter sets in employers need to be aware that workers who are exposed to cold, wet or icy conditions may be at risk of sustaining injuries or becoming ill. To protect your business from potential incidents & subsequent compensation claims it is essential that you take some simple precautions.

Businesswoman having flu

Employers have a duty to ensure they have done all that is reasonably practicable to prevent employees having accidents or becoming ill due to their work. Different considerations about working conditions will be necessary depending on the type of work done by employees:

  • Office-based workers: Do employees really need to be in the workplace, or could they work from home during wintry conditions? Is the office temperature at least 16°C or does additional heating need to be supplied?
  • Outdoor workers: Employees working outside must be provided with adequate protective clothing to ensure that they remain warm and safe (e.g. hats, gloves, safety boots and high-visibility padded jackets). Risks identified in the initial risk assessment may pose even more danger in bad weather conditions (e.g. the risk of slipping whilst climbing ladders or working at heights).
  • Company drivers: Ideally employees should avoid driving in dangerous weather conditions unless the journey is absolutely necessary (up to a third of all road traffic accidents involve somebody who is at work at the time). Employers should keep abreast with the latest weather reports and base decisions on whether or not to allow company drivers to set off on journeys on risk assessments.

It’s important to:

  • Have bad weather policies in place to prepare for potential winter-related issues.
  • Ramp up the provision of wellbeing support.
  • Help prevent the spread of winter colds and flu.
  • Support those who are suffering from stress, which can be made worse during periods of bad weather and the run-up to Christmas.

The Work Environment

During the winter months there is also a need to minimise the risks from snow and ice around the workplace (e.g. slips and trips). This might include gritting, snow clearing and closing off some routes.

It’s important to:

  • Identify outdoor pedestrian areas most likely to be affected by ice, such as entrances, car parks, walkways, short cuts, sloped areas and areas constantly in the shade.
  • Monitor the weather forecasts for freezing temperatures and keep up-to-date with the forecast.
  • Implement procedures to prevent an icy surface forming and for keeping pedestrians off a slippery surface.
  • Protect vulnerable groups, such as disabled people or new and expectant mothers.

These simple steps can protect your staff from injury & therefore protect your business from potential employers liability & public liability claims.

If you would like us to assist you with the management of health and safety at your workplace, or if you have any questions relating to this blog, please feel free to contact Ken Stevens on 01302 341 344.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *