Workplace Safety: Avoiding Industrial Hazards in the Winter
April 12, 2016 | Staffing Blog
Workplace Safety is a constant concern, and it should be. To a certain extent, both legally and morally, your employees, vendors and customers should expect to be reasonably safe when doing their jobs or visiting your location in the course of doing business with your company.
Winter Weather Makes Work Harder
Regardless of which region of the county you’re in, winter weather means your workers will deal with some tricky natural elements. If your workplace is lackadaisical about clearing sidewalks and rooftops of snow, customers are likely to complain. But slips and falls are a much greater reason to take snow removal seriously.
OSHA offers essential guidelines for managing winter weather-related hazards in the workplace on its website, including clearing snow and ice and working around downed power lines.
At least quarterly, all seasonal maintenance equipment should have a thorough safety inspection and staff should go through at least a review of maintenance operations during the season’s expected weather. For example, before the first quarter of the year – and periodically during the winter – workplace safety reviews should cover:
- Snowblowers, including safe starting, engine and blade/motor operation
- Outdoor maintenance in cold/icy conditions (e.g., safe use of ladders and wearing proper clothing for shoveling/clearing walkways in cold temperatures)
- Proper handling and storage of ice melt chemicals and fuel for power equipment
Maintaining equipment and training sessions is the most critical element to having a safe workplace, but record keeping is also important – and it is required by law.
If you don’t have a comprehensive workplace safety program in place, you can start by creating monthly checklists and an annual master list showing activities related to:
- Employee safety training
- Equipment maintenance, including any necessary protective clothing
- Availability of MSDS sheets
- Snow and ice management
- Accident/emergency notification protocol
Winter Workplace Safety: Is Sneezing a Hazard?
Whether your organization provides flu shots for employees or not, there’s no way to stop germs from entering the workplace. It’s not your responsibility to prevent everyone from getting sick, but wherever people work together, a certain amount of education and regulation is necessary.
Even a minimal time investment in the merits of “cover your cough” and “keep your germs at home” will pay off in terms of reducing the number of staff sick days and maintaining high productivity. It can also enhance workplace safety, since high absenteeism (and groggy, under-the-weather employees) can increase the risk of accidents.
Whether you need help covering a shift during a workplace safety training session or it’s just time to add to your staff, contact us. With 17 locations nationwide and a 98% order fill rate, employers know they can count on Allegiance Staffing throughout the winter months, and all year long.