Snow, sleet and ice can pose a serious threat to your business and employees. You may experience power outages or a sheet of ice across the parking lot. Winter weather can make the workweek rather difficult and dangerous for your employees. If you practice winter workplace safety, the risk is substantially less.
In 2017 there were 20,460 ice, sleet and snow-related injuries in the United States. Common injuries were due to:
- falls, slips, or trips
- overexertion and bodily reaction
- transportation incidents
If an employee gets injured you lose their work hours. Your business is at risk for Osha safety violation fees and insurance costs.
Preparing for winter can be tricky. Here are five winter safety tips to avoid these situations.
Prepare The Office
Prepping your office for winter workplace safety is by far the best way to keep the workplace safe. You need to ensure that both the outdoor and indoor areas are safe so employees don’t slip or fall on the premises. Set a plan for snow and ice removal on all walkways and parking lots to keep the outdoor areas clear. Either buy a snowplow of your own to clear the lot or set up a contract with a local snow removal business. You also need to stock up on salt to battle icy patches in those same areas. To keep your indoor areas safe and clear, put down absorbent mats at all entrances. This will prevent slips and falls. You may also want to invest in signage for icy patches outdoors or wet floors indoors.
Plan For Power Outages
Power outages are a common occurrence when there is heavy snow or strong winds. If there is a winter storm warning, plan to prepare for a power outage. If you’re in a large commercial building, don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re immune. In the midst of a bad winter storm, these outages can cripple operations. You need a solid plan for what to do when an outage occurs. This includes what actions employees should take and a tight strategy for your communications. Consider creating a safety training program for your employees. Additionally, a power outage will cause your technology and some utilities to fail. If you have the means, invest in a backup power generator to keep the building utilities running. It is also wise to invest in surge protectors to ensure your devices avoid any electrical damage. Finally, regularly backing up your data is important in the instance of a power outage. Remind your employees to do so on a regular basis as a precaution in case a winter storm hits.
While you can’t always predict the severity of a winter storm, keep employees are to date. Take measures to ensure employees are aware of pending weather. Your leadership team needs to discuss a plan of action when there is a weather advisory. Then, they must communicate that plan to all employees. If a blizzard is going to hit overnight, consider giving employees the option to work from home. Or if there are certain road closures happening during the day, send out an email with these details. These proactive efforts will play a key role in winter workplace safety.
Battle The Winter Sickness
One threat to your office space that you can’t ignore is the rise in illness during the winter months. The CDC reports that flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter. The rise in illness often occurs in October and November with a peak time in December and February. Arrange for a healthcare provider to provide flu shots for employees in the office. By making it convenient you’re likely to have an increased number of employees with an influenza vaccine. Additionally, remind employees to stay home if they are sick. Your leadership team needs to set the example of following this rule. That way, other employees do not feel guilty if they request a sick day.
Equip Employees For Winter Workplace Safety
You can only do so much to keep your employees safe, especially once they are off the company premises. But their individual preparedness is key. Encourage employees to take their own measures for winter workplace safety such as:
- winter emergency kit in their car
- recent vehicle tune-up
- ensuring their mobile device stays charged
- proper dress for the weather
As a business, you can also send our winter driving tips and reminders to check road conditions.
Follow these guidelines to keep your workplace safe for consistent operations. Don’t let rough weather conditions affect your business. Most importantly, stay safe and put your employee’s safety and health before your business with the help of Earth Development! For more than 20 years, we’ve provided industries of all types of professional commercial snow removal and other services. For more information, to get a free quote, or to speak to one of our friendly team members, don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can get a quote online, or give us a call!