Workplace Safety For Winter Workers
By Allegiance Staffing
January 5, 2016
Workplace safety is huge in keeping your employee turnover to a minimum and keeping your seasonal employees returning. Winter adds to the challenge of keeping employees safe.
Icy Grounds Equal Workplace Safety Challenge
The likelihood of an employee falling goes up as paths ice over and people start dripping rain or melt water on the business’ floor. It is important to take precautions that reduce the chance of slipping to summer-time levels.
- Put a mat by the entrances so people don’t track lots of water and mud on the floor. Be sure to have puddles quickly wiped up.
- Insist that your employees wear shoes with good traction, especially if your warehouse tends to get damp.
- Try to keep your walkways clear of ice and snow. If you can’t, remind employees to walk carefully.
Removing Snow From High Places Safely
Some of our offices are in places that get a lot of snow, which is beautiful, but not good for your business’ roof. Make sure roofs and other high places are cleared safely.
- Make sure employees use their ladders in the correct way. No getting on the very top step and no going up without a spotter.
- When possible, use snow removal methods that don’t require employees climbing up.
- Always check the roof for hazards before clearing.
Rain Storms Bring Workplace Safety Hazards
Even if it doesn’t snow around your place of business, winter is a time of unpredictable weather. Rain storms can knock out electricity, create leaks in your roof, and make doing such things as baggage handling difficult.
- Make sure you have an emergency preparedness kit on hand, and possibly a backup generator.
- Keep an eye on the weather and adjust your work schedules accordingly.
- Always be able to communicate with your employees wherever they are so you know if they are all right and help can reach them if something goes wrong.
Extreme Cold Risks
Below freezing temperatures are hazards and should be guarded against. If your employees will work outside at least some of the time, they risk cold-related injuries such as frostbite or hypothermia when it is below -15 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Provide short warm-up breaks for people working in freezing temperatures, especially if it is windy or damp where they work.
- Know the signs of frostbite, trench foot and hypothermia. Keep an eye on the condition of employees who have to work where those problems can develop. OSHA has a nice publication on cold-stress.
- Schedule maintenance and outside work for warmer hours
- Encourage dressing properly for the weather
- Provide warm, sweet drinks for everyone’s health
Cold can also interfere with power equipment. Cold hands are clumsy sometimes, and some vehicles freeze up, refusing to work. Try to keep equipment well-maintained, grounded and away from puddles.