There’s no doubt about it now – winter is officially here. As the season rolls in, it brings cold air, snow, and a mess of dangers for workers. If you’re not careful, you could have a slew of worker related injuries on your hands. To help you during this difficult time of the year, we’ve put together a checklist of safety procedures business owners should be following during the upcoming winter months.
Cold stress is a common hazard for employees when working in freezing temperatures. Anyone working in a cold environment – such as trash collectors or emergency personnel – is subjected to the risk of cold stress. When cold stress attacks the body, the most prevalent effects are hypothermia and frostbite. In order to avoid the symptoms and dangers of cold stress, we suggest business owners take the following precautions:
- Schedule colder jobs for warmer parts of the day
- Provide warm liquid to workers
- Schedule cold stress trainings for employees
However, the cold temperatures of the season aren’t the only thing you need to be on the lookout for…
Some of the most noticeable characteristics of winter are ice and snow. Although the white blanket may make for pretty scenery, frozen walkways create dangerous slip and fall hazards for workers on their way to a job. Surprisingly, OSHA reports that slip and fall hazards occur as many as 25,000 times per day – making it all the more important to address any winter-related slip and fall hazards at work!
The danger doesn’t stop once a worker enters a building either – once inside, employees track melted snow on their shoes and create puddles on the floors. Puddles inside the workplace create more fall hazards because of the slippery surfaces. To make the travel to work safer for workers, we suggest trying the following steps:
- Clear all walkways of snow and ice as soon as possible
- Use sidewalk salt to prevent ice further ice and snow formation on walkways
- Invest in nonskid mats for doorways to reduce puddles in the entrances
Sometimes, water puddles at work can’t be avoided. When this happens, we suggest cleaning them up as soon as possible with a mop and placing wet floor signs around the affected area to warn people of the fall hazard.
As tough as the cold may be to deal with, it is still very important to remember the safety of your workers to save your business money and avoid fines. Injuries due to cold stress and frozen walkways are all too common during the colder months, but following our guide to a safe winter will put you one step closer to keeping everyone safe and injury free.