Winter, finally, has arrived. The days are growing shorter, the snow is falling, roads have become coated in ice, and shoppers are working themselves into a frenzy in preparation for Christmas. It’s undoubtedly a beautiful time of the year, but it also poses certain dangers to those that aren’t careful. Incidents of workplace accidents and injuries, for example, tend to see a sharp uptick during the winter months. In 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 42,480 workplaces “injuries and illnesses involving ice, sleet, or snow that required at least one day away from work to recuperate.”
The temporary loss of employees due to winter injuries and illnesses can lead to the productivity of our workplaces entering a state of deep freeze. These incidents are also, typically, preventable. To keep our employees healthy and safe during the frozen winter months, employers must implement some basic safety measures.
Here are a few winter safety tips to get you started:
Protect Your Air Quality
The frigid temperatures outside can prompt many offices to keep all of their windows closed for days or weeks at a stretch. Without taking proper precautions, this can quickly produce stale and poor air quality that can be harmful to breathe over long periods. To keep the air in your workplace fresh, be sure to take advantage of periods of warm weather by opening doors and windows, thus allowing fresh air to circulate. You can also keep your office’s air unpolluted by using cleaners and office supplies that don’t contain harmful toxins or produce contaminating vapors.
Keep Walkways, Driveways, and Roads Clear, Accessible, and Safe
Injuries resulting from slipping, sliding, and falling on ice are one of the leading causes of workplace injuries during the winter. Keep your workplace and your team safe by shoveling snow from sidewalks and roads and by distributing plenty of salt or sand on areas that have frozen over.
Allow Flexible Work Options
Requiring your employees to commute to the office through freezing conditions is inviting a disaster to occur. Providing your workforce with the option to work from home when conditions are especially bad; on the other hand, it will keep your employees safe. They will also waste less time sitting in endless traffic and will instead be able to focus on completing their tasks from home.
Take the Initiative With Communication
As managers, it’s our responsibility to take the lead and communicate with our teams when there’s a big winter storm on the way, or when conditions are otherwise going to be bad enough that it’d be safer to work from home. Don’t risk employees making the journey to the office after a winter storm; if you see in the news that freezing conditions are on their way, send out a correspondence right away to alert your employees to the danger.
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