Adverse weather conditions have hit the UK over the past few days, with lots of snow, freezing temperatures, wind, rain – we’ve been hit by it all. And unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as though it’s quite done with us just yet… but the Beast from the East was quickly followed by Storm Emma.
There are obvious implications for companies with regards to health and safety during bad weather, particularly for those that work in industries such as construction, where members of staff are likely to be working outside for prolonged periods of time.
Slips and trips in the workplace may well be more likely at this time of year and it’s important that you do all you can to reduce the risks. Firstly, identify any outdoor areas used by people that are most likely to be affected by ice such as car parks, walkways, building entrances and so on. Keep an eye on the temperature as prevention is key.
Procedures should be put in place to stop icy surfaces from forming, such as by using grit, covering walkways or diverting people to safer passages for coming and going. Barriers and warning cones can be used, to help keep your employees safe.
Take a look at your lighting as well – is there sufficient lighting and are your areas well light so that people can see and avoid any hazards. Have a chat to your employees to see what they think and if there are any areas that could be improved. Walk around your site at different times of day so you can see spaces that might need to be lit up more effectively.
And, of course, don’t forget to keep your outside areas well maintained. Debris like fallen leaves are common at this time of year, so always sweep these up, otherwise they can decay and become incredibly slippery.
But it’s not just slips and trips you need to prioritise when bad weather comes in. You also need to think about those working outside and how they may be affected. You have a duty of care to all your members of staff and will need to take all reasonable steps in order to ensure their safety.
Think about whether the work must be done in cold weather – and always carry out a risk assessment before any outdoor work is done where bad weather may be an issue. Don’t forget about the wind chill factor, either!
Ensure that all staff members have the appropriate training to use machinery and equipment, and make sure that you provide them with the right kind of clothing and PPE for the job at hand. If you’d like further help or advice with regards to emergency response planning, working outside in bad weather or anything else relating to health and safety in the workplace, get in touch with us here at HFR Solutions today.