With winter fast approaching, it’s essential that tradesmen make sure they’re operating safely at all levels of the business, no matter what industry they’re in. This can be a very challenging time of year for those in certain jobs, so it makes sense to be as prepared as possible and know what to expect… and to have incident response plans in place just in case something occurs.
Your primary focus at the moment should certainly be changes in the weather, so now’s the time to do a stock take and make sure that you have the appropriate winter weather clothes available for your members of staff. This could include high visibility clothing, waterproof workwear, thermals, fleeces and durable trousers, all of which will help keep your workers more visible during shorter days, comfortable and allow them to undertake their roles with confidence.
Of course, footwear fit for purpose is, paramount at this time of year as well – although you could argue that in certain industries such as construction and manufacturing, sturdy work boots are a requirement at all times of the year given how the risks associated with these sectors. Rain, wind and snow are typical weather climates during the autumn and winter, and well into spring some years as well, so it’s vital that you have the appropriate personal protective equipment on site to ensure worker safety.
Pay close attention to the weather reports so you can make daily decisions about whether certain jobs can be undertaken. If, for example, it’s going to be incredibly windy you might want to leave working at height tasks to another day. Risk assessments should always be ongoing so that you can make the right choices in a timely fashion.
For employees working outside, limiting their exposure to the elements is also a must, so make sure you schedule your outdoor work in shorter durations and break up big projects into smaller tasks. You’d also be wise to provide a warm break area such as a welfare unit, so people can escape the outdoors.
Another key point to bear in mind when running a business during the winter months is that it’s not just your outdoor workers that you need to think about. You also need to make sure those working inside warehouses, factories and offices are looked after as well.
At this time of year, floor surfaces can become treacherously slippery because of the rain and snow, so you should always make sure that you dry wet floors, put signposts out if the floors are slippery and try to encourage people to take a little extra care, so as to avoid slips, trips and falls. You could also invest in floor surfaces that are coated with grit so as to help people walking on site when the floor surface is wet, or offer your workers slip-resistant footwear to help keep them safe.