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Keeping the workplace safe in cold weather

It’s the time of year for ice and snow. Here are some useful tips to help you keep your workplace safe during the cold weather.

When the weather gets colder it brings a number of hazards when it comes to workplace safety. From coping with ice and snow, to ensuring staff are warm enough, here are some helpful ways to ensure your staff and customers are safe during the cold weather.

Coping with ice

Ideally, you will have some inclusion of icy weather in your risk assessment, but as cold weather sets in, this is always worth updating.

Check your company car park and adjoining road, as well as any pavements or pathways alongside and around your business.

Grit and rocksalt both before and during any icy spells will help to make these safer, so plan for the frequency of this activity and also which named person will be responsible for checking the weather and ensuring this work is carried out.

See page 197 of our brochure on Safety signs and equipment

You could also ensure that grit bins are sited conveniently for times when ice is likely to be an issue.

See page 198 - 205 of our brochure for a range of grit bins, spreaders and de-icing kits.

It will be important to make sure that the staff are in place to carry on the gritting while necessary but also that they are trained well to grit pathways properly:

  • Remove any fresh snow so that grit can be directly applied to ice.

  • Grit generously and evenly. Spread the salt generously and evenly over areas that have a high level of footfall, or busy roads.

  • Pay close attention to paths or steps.

Also consider signage to warn staff and customers of particularly hazardous areas in the ice such as shortcuts, like across a grass verge or to a side entrance and sloped areas.

Caution sign, 565mm x 292mm, easy to assemble. See page 147 of our brochure

Another option that you might consider in advance if the weather is looking likely to be cold and snowy is to plan for those who can to work from home on days when travelling in and out of the premises might be risky.

Keeping staff warm enough when they work outdoors

As well as gritting and posting signage up about particularly hazardous places, it is also important that staff have appropriate Personal Protective Equipement and workwear, especially if they will be working outdoors for any period of time.

Providing thermal layers is a good option which allows workers greater flexibility and control over their temperature.

Outerwear is also important and we have an excellent range, including this Endurance Active Jacket which is durable and lightweight, has highly breathable properties and thermo regulating sports insulation to make sure that workers who are active in cold temperatures can stay warm.

Having appropriate footwear in colder weather is also vital. It’s important that those working outdoors have footwear that offers good grip and has anti-slip soles, as well as being water resistant and insulation to keep feet warm during colder weather.

These Thinsulate Performance boots by UPower are a water resistant leather safety boot, featuring a slip resistant sole, protective toe caps, and puncture resistance. They are also lined with Wingtex® air tunnel lining making them ideal for colder weather. They meet safety standard EN ISO 20345:2011 and the safety rating S3 CI SRC.

In addition to providing appropriate PPE, other measures ensuring staff who are working in colder temperatures are safe are to consider:

  • More frequent breaks

  • Access to warm spaces and hot drinks

  • Shorter, more flexible shifts

Indoor working areas

It’s also important to ensure staff are warm enough when working indoors when the temperature plummets. If people get cold it can impact productivity and decision-making skills, and this in turn can increase risk of other safety hazards. Some staff who may have pre-existing health conditions can also be at greater risk.

For this reason, temperatures in indoor workplaces are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which place a legal obligation on employers to provide a “reasonable” temperature in the workplace.

All employers are expected to ensure indoor workplaces are kept at a reasonable temperature. The Approved Code of Practice suggests the minimum temperature should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsius. If the work involves rigorous physical effort, the temperature should be at least 13 degrees Celsius.

Our team are always happy to help with solutions that suit your needs. Call our sales team 01726 74264 or email for advice and information.


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