Winter Preparedness

All business face challenges when winter arrives.  Workers can complain of being cold, there can be equipment breakdowns, and there can be issues with safely getting to work for office-based staff, etc.

Being prepared is the key to ensuring the reduction of risks (accidents and ill health) whilst maintaining efficiency.  Preparation may be two-fold – your Company premises as well as for operations on site.  Whilst there are many requirements for your site staff, often the office staff can be overlooked.  This article gives suggestions to help make your premises “Winter Ready”.

With respect to your premises you should look at:

  • Ensuring your heating system is well-maintained.  It is advisable that this is serviced on an annual basis.  This is well worth the outlay as a heating breakdown may result in lost office time which can be costly.
  • Ensuring guttering is cleaned of leaves and debris – this will ensure that overflowing pipes will not add to risks of slipping or ice below, as well as reducing instances of water penetration into your building.
  • Ensuring external paths and steps and other surfaces are cleaned of debris, leaves, moss, etc.
  • Ensuring you check if any trees in the grounds are mature where they may present risks of falling in high winds.  A tree expert may be required for this.
  • Ensuring you are ready to combat the big freeze.  Make sure you have a supply of grit, shovels and brushes etc. and have trained relevant staff in how to perform the function of gritting.  Staff should be provided with appropriate equipment (including warm clothing and appropriate footwear).
  • Regularly consulting weather forecasts so you are aware of when you will need to put your de-icing plans into place.
  • Ensuring external lighting is operational and covers all areas necessary so that there are no missed areas that may result in hazards not being visible.
  • Providing entrance mats to absorb water brought in on footwear and coats.
  • Ensuring that company vehicles are prepared for colder weather.
  • To combat the cold and ‘flu season, considering the installation of hand sanitiser stations at entrances and have handles and rails cleaned frequently.  This has been shown to reduce the spread of illnesses.