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5 top tips for winter health and safety

As the nights draw in, we’ve put together our top 5 tips for health and safety to ensure you and your team are safe this winter…

27 October 2021

As the nights draw in, we’ve put together our top 5 tips for health and safety to ensure you and your team are safe this winter…

1. Have in place a gritting regime during icy weather conditions. It is a myth that if you attempt to make something safe and someone slips you are liable – the law says that any area people have access to (employees and others) must be safe. You’ll also need risk assessments and safe systems of work for applying the grit, and choose the safest method for doing this.

2. Lighting. As with the gritting, you need to make sure that all areas people have access to are well enough lit for safe access and egress, to reduce trip risks, externally and internally. Some lights may not have been used for a while, are they still working?

3. Traffic management plans – do you have one? In hours of darkness and poor lighting levels, a traffic management plan and risk assessment look at the requirements for lighting, high viz clothing and segregation of vehicle and pedestrian routes where possible to eliminate risk in the first place. Also look to eliminate reversing manoeuvres where you can, using one-way systems or turning circles – there are also other solutions but of course every site is different

4. Winter driving. All drivers carrying out work journeys should be inspecting their vehicles regularly and making records. In winter it is crucial that tyres are in good condition and inflated properly, and lights are working and clean so they are fully effective. Do all staff have first aid kits, high viz clothing and warning triangles in their vehicles? Do they know what to do in the event of a breakdown or accident, and how to make themselves safe? Also, in snowy weather consider route options, blankets and shovels but of course also is the trip absolutely necessary? Can you have an effective meeting remotely via Zoom, Teams etc?

5. PPE. If your employees work outside in cold weather, ensure they have appropriate clothing so that they are visible, and warm. Commonly in outdoor work setting, people wear hoodies to keep their heads warm. This restricts visibility, and so is not safe, especially around any vehicles or plant operating in the environment. Warm hats, or thermal liners in hard hats are much more effective for keeping warm and ensuring good visibility too. Do you provide good wet weather protection and drying rooms / facilities? Being wet and cold is no fun. And a warm, happy workforce is a productive one!

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