Is your business set for snow?

27 November 2017

Everyone dreams of a white winter, but as a business owner, it can cause problems all over the show.

To help reduce any Health & Safety hazards in and around your premises, here are a few key areas for you to consider…

1. Lighting

Lighting’s an all year round area to look out for, but it’s particularly important during the cold winter months when there’s snow and ice about. It’s important to make sure the lighting surrounding your site is sufficient enough to spot hazards that might be lurking on the ground.

Handy hint: pay attention to places like your building’s entrance, car park, pedestrian walkways, sloped surfaces and routes people potentially use as a shortcut.

2. Slips

If you do uncover any hazards that could result in anyone slipping on ice, frost or snow, you should assess the risk of the hazard materialising, and put appropriate measures in place to control or eliminate them.

A few preventative measures include:

  • Clearing the snow first thing in the morning
  • Spreading grit (or the equivalent) on any areas that pose a hazard – if gritting, keep an eye on the area to see if it needs re-gritting throughout the day
  • Shielding frosty or icy surfaces with an arbour or insulating material, for example
  • If practicable, blocking off any hazardous areas and diverting people to a safer route
  • Make sure employees working outdoors have suitable footwear.

Remember: if you use warning cones to cordon off an area, promptly remove them once the hazard’s no longer present, otherwise they’ll be ignored.

3. Drains and pipes

Check that your surface water drains are flowing freely, so that areas where water can flood don’t turn into a mini ice rink. If water has pooled, block off the area.

Speaking of drains, be sure to keep an eye on your pipes too. Burst pipes are a common pain during the winter months, and it happens when the water inside the pipe expands in freezing conditions, causing an increase in pressure.

A simple way to prevent this could be to leave your heating on for longer – especially overnight when temperatures hit their lowest.

4. Commuting and business travel

If you’ve employees who commute to work by car or are required to travel as part of their job, make sure it’s safe for them to do so. Encourage them to take safer routes – i.e. a well-lit main road, rather than a winding country road, and make them aware of safe driving techniques, like:

  • Using second gear when starting from standstill
  • Allowing extra space between them and the vehicle in front
  • Taking their foot off the accelerator and gently steering into the skid – if needed

To name just a few. Check out our free guide on winter driving for more tips.

5. Clear communication

It’s important to make employees, visitors and members of the public aware of any hazards. You could consider sending out a business-wide email to employees, letting them know things like: where any hazardous areas are, any safety measures put in place, and how to report any new hazards that haven’t already been controlled.

You could also put together some signs and display them in clearly visible places as a) a reminder for employees, and b) a warning to visitors and members of the public.

Got a question?

Our industry leading Health & Safety experts are here to help you with every single element of your business’ safety. With everything from accident reporting and policies, to safe working practices and risk assessments, we’ve got your back.

Get in touch on 0345 844 1111 or hello@citation.co.uk to see how we can help.

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