Winter Workplace Safety


Winter Workplace SafetyWhether your workplace is outdoors or in a cozy office, winter conditions can affect your employees' work and personal safety on the job. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), employers are required to provide sufficient training and the right equipment to keep employees safe in the workplace, and to provide an environment that is "free from recognized hazards" that could cause injury or death. Here's what you can do to prepare for and protect yourself and your employees from the most common winter workplace hazards.

Dangerous Pathways:

Slips and falls are one of the most common winter-weather related injuries and, while not usually fatal, can cause very serious injury. Be sure all common walkways are well-lit and cleared regularly, and use salt or de-icer if necessary. If employees are traveling around outside, encourage them to walk slowly and deliberately; and always wear sturdy, safe shoes, even if that means carrying indoor shoes to put on when they get back inside.

Winter Driving:

Even if it's just getting to and from work, most of us have to do at least some driving on the job. If your employees have to drive in winter conditions, they should make sure their vehicle is in good shape and well-maintained. Encourage them to always clear their car of snow and ice, including lights, windows and tires, and to learn winter driving strategies and how to handle a breakdown or accident on the road. Finally, they should always carry safety supplies such as water, blankets and flares.

Shoveling Snow:

Believe it or not, every year thousands of people get injured shoveling snow. If they are not normally active people, heading outside to move a mountain of snow can result in back problems or other injuries, and in some cases, the physical exertion can cause a heart attack. The National Safety Council recommends moving snow, rather than lifting it. If you must lift the snow, use a small shovel and proper technique (push from your legs, not your back). And if an employee has heart problems, he or she should skip the shoveling.

Unpredictable Conditions:

If your workplace requires time spent outdoors, as an employer you should provide education on the symptoms of cold stress and how to dress appropriately for different types of winter conditions. Employees should dress in layers and always have gloves and a hat available. If appropriate, they should wear safety gear such as goggles, a shoe traction system, or protective headgear.

Workplace Hazards:

Every workplace is unique and can present a variety of different hazards related to extreme weather conditions. Whether you're dealing with an icy construction site or a space heater too close to the furniture, it's important that employees are aware of and report potential hazards.

Remember: Winter weather doesn't care what you have to get done today, or what the consequences will be if you don't. But there are other consequences that could be much worse. Prioritize safety on the job to protect yourself, your clients, and your company's bottom line.

For any business insurance questions, call or contact Executive Insurance & Financial Services today.

Blog Home - View a complete list of our articles

Leave a Comment:

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

Executive Insurance & Financial Services