Winter Health and Safety Advice

Posted on November 22, 2018 in General Info

winter health and safety

Health and safety is a fundamental part of best practice in the workplace, and employers are responsible for the safety and welfare of the people working for them.

However, winter brings colder, wetter weather, and darker days, which can create additional health and safety issues which you should consider.

To help our customers through the winter months, we have created a list of winter weather health and safety tips, so you can look after your residents and employees’ wellbeing this season.

Winter health and safety hazards

The darker nights and wetter weather associated with winter can create a number of potential safety risks that you will need to combat. Issues you will need to look out for include:

Slips and trips – wet weather makes surfaces more slippery while darker nights make hazards harder to see

Road accidents – Wet roads and bad weather can create hazardous driving conditions

Risk of illness – Exposure to cold weather conditions, especially if workers are operating outside, increases the likelihood of members of staff getting ill. Sickness absences from work can have a negative impact on a business

Winter weather health and safety tips

Fortunately, there are a number of measures that you can take to ensure these hazards are combated and the welfare of your employees is intact. Follow our top winter safety tips below and ensure that you stay safe this winter:

Increase the levels of lighting. To prevent slips and trips, you need to make sure residents and employees have a well-lit environment, which is harder to do in the winter months and darker nights. Survey the outdoors and indoors of your premises, and identify where additional lighting could be installed. Speak to residents and members of staff and see if they struggle with visibility in any parts of their property, and add additional lighting where needed.

Tackle slippery surfaces. To reduce the risk of slip and trips, slippery (or potentially slippery) surfaces need to be well maintained. For indoor areas, make cleaning contractors, a responsible resident or a member of staff responsible for drying-up floors and ensuring that slippery areas are clearly marked.

For outside your premises, activity may need to be more proactive. Remove wet/decaying leaves from around the building. Fallen leaves can hide other hazards along the pathways into a building and can create a slip hazard themselves. Be proactive and clear leaves before they cause a problem to improve health and safety at winter.

Keep an eye on weather forecasts and if there’s a chance it’ll be below freezing, make sure to grit and salt the paths to prevent trips and slips, as well as roads if you’re on private land to reduce the risk of road accidents.

Check your heating system. Ideally, this will have been done in the summer months but if not ensure your heating systems are fully serviced by a professional to avoid any issues before it gets too cold.

The virtues of ventilation. Condensation and mould are common issues that can cause major problems in terms of damage to property and health issues, however this is a problem area that can be easily be prevented in most cases with a bit of good communication.

These days, where many properties are so well insulated and have double glazing, together with efficient central heating systems, condensation is more likely to occur unless the property is correctly ventilated.

Develop procedures. While you can take action to minimise risk, having the right procedures in place will help you to ensure you can correctly manage any incidents that do happen. Make sure your winter health and safety procedures include the following:

  • Identify areas of potential risk and list steps to follow to ensure that the risk is minimised
  • Establish who is responsible for winter health and safety activity and identify any training needs they may have to complete their job effectively
  • Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that will show you that the plan is performing correctly
  • Schedule time to monitor and review the plan against these KPIs, and adapt your approach if it’s not working well
  • Communicate to all members of staff on all aspects of health and safety procedures to staff members and residents, so they know what to do if an incident occurs

We hope you have found our winter health and safety guide helpful, and we have given you some useful tips for staying safe in the colder months.

Should you need any help with making your property safe for Winter please call one of our friendly team on 0845 604 1288.