What Companies Can Do to Keep Employees Healthy & Injury-free in the Winter
There are special considerations for companies during the winter season that aren’t much of a concern, if at all, earlier in the year. Sure, whilst leaves on the ground during autumn can prove hazardous for an unexpected slip and fall, let’s face it, ice is far more dangerous under foot in the dead of winter.
Here are some thoughts on what companies should do to help their employees stay free of injury and in good health during the winter.
Staying Protected with Safety Clothing
There are many types of protective clothing that are designed for employees to wear in different circumstances. Work clothing doesn’t always mean wearing a men’s or women’s suit. With workwear clothing, it can mean adding additional layers over the top of a suit when walking out to a building site. This type of safety clothing, for instance a high visibility jacket with reflective stripes, helps keep the employee safer.
Other workwear clothing like the ‘e.s. active trousers’ from engelbert strauss provide a youthful appearance similar to cargo trousers with plenty of handy pockets and a FlexBelt for an adjustable waistline. Their range of functional safety workwear extends to work attire shoes as well to keep the feet warmer in winter but with moisture ventilation features too. Safety shoes UK supplied is important as well for jobs where heavy objects can fall on an employee’s foot accidentally; hardened toe caps on safety shoes do much to protect injuries there.
You can look at the protective clothing here to prepare you for this winter. There are many appropriate colours and sizes for you and your team to choose from.
One factor that doesn’t always get considered properly until it’s too late is the lighting in and around the business property. While during the summertime there is usually plenty of light, in the later months even with daylight savings time adjustments, it still tends to get dark too early. Couple this with employee fatigue later in the day and near the end of the week and it’s a recipe for accidents waiting to happen; a tool left out or an object mindlessly left on the floor won’t necessarily get seen when shrouded in darkness.
The best way to deal with lighting is to do an inspection, not just of the complete workplace indoors and outdoors, but also to ask what routes people take when walking around. There will be common thoroughfares and routines that office workers, warehouse staff and other types of workers take in the course of arriving, working and leaving for the day. All of these routes should get special attention to see if they have adequate lighting.
When finding a dimly lit area, either change the light bulbs for brighter eco-friendly ones or arrange for additional lighting to be installed as soon as possible. Treat this as a priority item; don’t wait until a worker has an accident before acting.
Adding grit – usually rock salt or another robust substance suitable for the task – to surface areas provides an improved ability for staff to stay on their feet. Taking a nasty fall at work is a common cause of workplace compensation claims and can see key workers out of action with a range of medical complaints from an injured back to a concussion from a single fall.
Laying down grit when excess water from rainfall is expected, or snow is predicted, helps give better grip on the ground even when it’s slippery. Bear in mind that grit in the form of rock salt doesn’t become effective right away; it has to soak up moisture on the ground first. Assign an employee to check the weather forecast every morning and distribute the grit around the property when it’s needed to avoid getting caught out.
While it’s common for more employees to get sick during winter because of fluctuating temperatures when moving between different environments, it’s still the responsibility of their employer to provide a safe and healthy work environment.
Ensure there are heating systems in place that are fully functional. Check that all windows are closed and provide a proper seal. Verify the average temperature across different parts of the office to ensure that it is at a reasonable level to keep all staff feeling comfortable. It never hurts to let staff have more tea breaks than normal either because a hot drink helps to warm up the body nicely.
Donning safety wear, including shoes that are effective in their work environment, does much to stop avoidable accidents in the workplace. Other measures like grit on the ground, having a tidy work environment and proper illumination in all work areas prevents many of the incidents before they happen. Employees should also be reminded to move slower and more carefully this time of year too.