Winter’s Coming, Are You Ready?
It’s been a great run of fabulous fall weather but don’t fool yourself, winter and all that comes with it is on its way. Daylight hours are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping, snow will start flying and soon clocks will be turning back to standard time. Winter has its own unique set of hazards and safety concerns; however, with a proactive approach, costs associated with WCB claims, time loss and reduced productivity due to illness or injury may be avoided.
Whether your staff works indoors or outdoors, commutes to work or uses a vehicle as part of their duties, here are some helpful hints and reminders that could help mitigate the inherent risks of winter that face your organization:
- Dress Appropriately: There are going to be warm, possibly even hot, days and there are going to be cold and frosty days. Unfortunately, the temperature does not drop consistently so watching the forecast and dressing according to conditions is key to being prepared for all conditions. Wearing layers that can be removed as the day warms up will prevent overheating without getting chilled; having gloves, hats, sweaters, coats and socks available can provide a layer of warmth as temperatures drop. Proper footwear will help avoid the risk of falling on frost or ice-covered sidewalks, pathways or parking lots and help prevent frostbite.
- Protective Gear and Preventative Measures: The sun is strong even if the temperatures are cool, so remembering to use sunscreen and wear sunglasses if you are working outside is still important, as is keeping hydrated. Ensuring the appropriate seasonal workwear and equipment, for both warm and cold weather, is available and in good condition is vital to minimizing risk. It’s time for that winter tune-up on your vehicle, to book an appointment to get the snow tires on and make sure the emergency kit is stocked and in the car.
- Cold & Flu Season Preparation: Stock up on kleenex, hand sanitiser, masks, COVID-19 tests, disinfectant, paper towels and cold & flu medications. Encourage staff to get the flu shot and COVID-19 boosters. Consider hosting an on-site vaccination clinic or post locations, dates and times of nearby clinics. Since the pandemic, many organizations figured out how to ‘work from home’, think about offering this as an option for anyone who is unwell, feels like they are coming down with something or are recovering but not yet up to a full workday.
- Reduced Daylight Hours: As the days continue to get shorter, so does the available time to complete tasks outdoors. Unlike the spring when days are getting longer and the window to finish work is ever stretching, daylight hours are now contracting and the impulse to work faster to finish projects gets harder to resist. The ‘beat the light’ approach often results in taking shortcuts and working in poor visibility which inevitably leads to an increased risk of injury or accident. Even getting to and from your workplace at dusk or in the dark presents a greater challenge.
- Driving Conditions: Early morning fog and frost warnings are common at this time of year. Unlike spring where everyone has been driving in winter conditions for months, it seems like we tend to forget everything we’ve learned about driving in snow and ice. All too soon, driving to and from work in the dark will be the norm. Making sure you leave extra time to get where you need to be and paying extra attention to the road and other vehicles can make the difference between arriving at your destination safely or becoming a statistic.
It’s impossible to anticipate or avoid every hazard but anything your organization can do to prepare for the approaching onslaught of winter can help reduce the impact of this challenging season on your bottom line.
If you would like further information on ways your organization can get ready for winter, you can use our live chat feature during business hours, email us at [email protected] or at [email protected], contact us directly at 1-844-377-9545 or you can always connect with us on our Facebook page, through our Twitter account, on our LinkedIn profile.