As we head into winter, it's important to be aware of the unique hazards that come with this time of year. From slippery surfaces to cold stress, here are five common workplace hazards to watch out for:
Slippery Surfaces: As temperatures drop and rain, sleet, and snow become more common, it's important to be aware of the potential for slippery surfaces both inside and outside the workplace. Now is the time to clean floors, decks, and stairs to remove dirt, mould, and debris. Ensure all Workers are wearing appropriate footwear. Make sure to have adequate lighting, non-slip flooring, mats, signs, and other controls in place to prevent slips, trips, and falls.
Working in cold and wet conditions: When working outdoors in the cold and rain, Workers are at risk of developing cold stress, which can include hypothermia, frostbite, and illness. Make sure Workers are properly dressed for the cold – provide them with appropriate wet weather waterproof and insulated clothing. Ensure winter uniforms are available. Allow facilities for Workers to take frequent breaks in warm areas, schedule work to avoid severe weather, and educate your team on the signs and symptoms of cold stress.
Poor Visibility: As daylight hours decrease, it's important to ensure that Workers have adequate lighting and visibility while working. Make sure to replace burnt-out light bulbs, provide adequate lighting in outdoor work areas, and encourage the use of reflective clothing and equipment.
Power Outages: Winter storms and other weather-related events can lead to power outages, which can be particularly dangerous for Workers working in confined spaces or in hazardous environments. Make sure to have emergency plans and procedures in place for power outages, including backup generators and adequate lighting.
Winter illness: With the cold and flu season in full swing, it's important to take steps to prevent the spread of illness in the workplace. Encourage Workers to stay home when they are sick, test for Covid-19, provide hand sanitizer and other hygiene measures, and ensure that work areas are properly cleaned and disinfected.
By being aware of these common workplace hazards and taking steps to prevent them, you can help ensure a safe and healthy work environment for your team this winter season. Make sure to review your safety policies and procedures, conduct regular safety training, and stay up-to-date on the latest safety information to keep your workplace safe and hazard-free.