Is Your Business Prepared For Winter?

02/12/2015

Knowledge Zone Home   
More in hot-topics

The UK is readying itself for the coldest winter for a century with -14°C freezes expected - the lowest since records began in 1910.

With winter officially here, and Britain's unpredictable weather in full swing, it’s time to start asking... Are we prepared?

To limit the disruption bad weather brings - plan! Ideally every business should already have an employee contingency and site process at the ready. If not take learning's from past experience and other incidents reported in your industry or locality, or have specialist auditors evaluate your premises and report back any concerns and advise.

Site Health and Safety

Business operations are the last thing you want affected by the weather, but there are ways of keeping your site and staff safeguarded from the elements.

  • Install temperature control systems, check they’re well maintained and ensure the temperature meets the HSE recommendation - no lower than 16°C, or 13°C if much of the work is physical.

  • Get your boiler serviced as soon as possible to address any possible problems early and avoid future disruption.

  • Check your piping - old or unprotected piping can freeze and burst in the winter months, the most common reason is badly located pipes. To avoid this have troublesome pipes rerouted or insulated.

  • Make sure windows and doors are in good condition and draft free. If required re-grout windows or invest in draft-excluding fixtures.

  • Move any furniture which obstructs heat sources - if you think warmth is being lost through the walls invest in radiator reflector foil to reduce heat loss.

  • Ensure there is adequate matting at both the entrance and exit of your premises - this will keep your workplace cleaner but most of all safer. Click here to read our article on reducing slip hazards.

  • Stock up on rock salt and ensure regular coverage on car parks or loading bays - this will help keep the surface safe for pedestrians and vehicles.

  • Keep hygiene in mind - winter is the peak time of year for illness. It’s therefore paramount to ensure your workplace is kept as hygienic as possible; washrooms are in good working order, cleaned regularly and stocked up with soap and hand sanitiser.

And finally… Consider the rights of your employees

Read up on severe weather condition employment policies so that you know what is reasonable to expect of your staff. It is important to ensure your employees stay motivated and are aware you have their best interests at heart. Remind them to plan ahead, stay safe and to take note of advice - if the emergency services have issued a warning not to travel unless absolutely necessary, then this should not be ignored. It’s crucial to assess and advise all reasonable risks.