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Winter Dangers at Work

Following on from our blog on Autumn Hazards , and with winter weather firmly setting in; it is time to get organised for the toughest months of the year, particularly if your workforce operates outdoors or at height. Working at height can be difficult in good weather, but the added dangers that winter brings, make it all the more important that your business is prepared.

Winter weather is a lot drearier than it is during autumn. For a start, daylight hours are in short supply and are often overcast, rainy and windy. There may be heavy snow or hail forecast, as well as fog and mist, making visibility increasingly difficult. The addition of black ice and frost is also worrying.

Dark Days

Dark days that are overcast can be dangerous in numerous ways. Poor external lighting can mean that ice is often missed, which can cause heavy trips and falls; all the more dangerous when working on an MEWP at height. Secondly, perma-dark days make visibility an issue, much like a low horizon when driving.

Double-check the stability of working equipment, and ensure that staff are rotating in tasks and wearing the correct PPE that is warm and waterproof.

Snow, Ice and Fog

Treacherous weather conditions are unstable at best and difficult to manage if you are unprepared. Check the forecast daily and keep on top of predicted weather across all sites, particularly when you have staff that work at height, as working conditions diminish in such adverse weather. Where possible, consult a risk assessment to ensure all the correct health and safety procedures are carried out.

Use salt and grit to ensure the most important walkways are clear of snow, frost and subsequent ice. When working on temporary sites, ensure staff have access to cold weather kits to make them safe before work can commence. Have adequate lighting in place to maximise visibility.

Safeguard your Staff

All staff that work at height must have the correct training before they start work. This training is repeated every few years, so ensure your staff are all up to date on the relevant courses.

If you do need to provide staff with new IPAF and PASMA training, then full IPAF and PASMA training courses are available on our website. Get in touch with our team for further information on these courses; throughout the North East and further afield.