Change in seasons brings new office safety hazards that employers should start thinking about and preparing for now. We’ve outlined the top four safety hazards you should plan for this winter.
1. Prevent slips and falls.
Slips and falls happen year-round, but winter ice and snow create a more hazardous environment increasing the risk of worker injuries. Slip and fall incidents are more prevalent in the fall and winter season. Maybe a pile of wet slippery leaves, or wet snow and ice in entrances and on the flooring could cause an accident. Be proactive and get some matting down in entrance ways and potentially slippery hallways. Keep your safety gear nearby and put up caution signs near areas that tend to get more moisture and wet patches. Also, make sure you have your spill kits and oil absorbent socks on hand for any eventualities of a major spill. You want to make sure your workers are properly equipped and prepared for office safety hazards.
2. Protect workers using snow blowers and other snow removal equipment.
According to OSHA, it is important to make sure that powered equipment, such as snow blowers are properly grounded to protect workers from electric shocks or electrocutions. As an employer you want to make sure that the employee is protected from having an electric shock during the winter season. As a general rule, you want remind employees to ensure all equipment is completely disconnected from its power source before turning it on or using it. This protection works both ways because in protecting your workers and ensuring workplace safety, you protect yourself from workers compensation claims or lawsuits from the family of the injured employee.
3. Prevent illnesses from spreading.
To prevent viruses from spreading, washing hands often and cleaning communal areas regularly is important. During the winter season, there seems to be an increase of various flu viruses and germs spreading. In this approaching winter season, you need to maintain office safety and do regular cleaning so you can cut down on germs. Keep disinfecting spray on hand to keep the bathroom and breakrooms clean. Also encourage your employees to wash their hands regularly, especially after having lunch or using the restroom. Have a meeting at the beginning of the season to remind your employees of some office safety tips during flu season.
4. When working outdoors, prevent frostbite and hypothermia.
Frostbite and hypothermia are the consequences of cold exposure and both can have long-lasting effects. Make sure your employees wear sufficient clothing when it is cold outside to prevent them from getting frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite and hypothermia generally arises when you are unaware of how cold the temperature actually is, because sometimes outside doesn’t seem as cold as it really is. Remind employees to take constant breaks when outside, come indoors for a few minutes, get a warm drink and keep their finger on the pulse as to how they feel. If they feel numbness or tingling in their limbs they should contact someone immediately and head indoors.
During this winter season make sure you have all the safety equipment and safety supplies you need to prevent incidents and keep your employees safe!