Employers and employees should be reminded of their health and safety responsibilities to protect their staff and co-workers to reduce the risk of workplace incidents and sickness absence, particularly in the winter months. It is important that employers take the necessary measures in protecting their staff’s well-being and maintain a positive workforce.
Slips, Trips and Falls
Slips, trips and falls are the most common types of accidents in the workplace and ice and snow during the winter months increases the likelihood of these occurring.
Some precautions which can be taken to reduce the risk include:
The law does not state a minimum or maximum temperature for places of work, however the temperatures in workrooms should be at least:
These temperatures are not absolute legal requirements; the employer has a duty to determine what will be reasonably comfortable in the circumstances.
Employees working outside must be provided with adequate protective clothing to ensure that they remain warm and safe such as hats, gloves, safety boots and high-visibility jackets. Risks identified in the initial risk assessment may pose even more danger in bad weather conditions such as the risk of slipping whilst climbing ladders or working at height.
Employers have a duty to ensure that they have done all that is reasonably practicable to prevent employees having accidents due to their work. Different considerations about working conditions will be necessary depending on the type of work.