Last week, the UK experienced some of the heaviest snowfall in recent years with many places seeing up to 10 inches of snow over the course of 24 hours!
This is probably not the last time we will face treacherous weather conditions this winter, so we should do what we can to ensure that we are prepared for snow, ice and other weather hazards so that workers are not putting themselves in danger on their way to and from work.
The most common, and the safest, reaction when we experience snowfall like last week is to close up offices and businesses for a day or two, where possible. If there is a chance that travelling to work could be putting your employee’s health and safety at risk, then they should avoid doing so.
For employees that are able to work from home, they should always be given the option to do so instead, and for those that may be unable to work remotely but cannot travel, they should be able to make up the hours later or take the day as annual leave.
As extreme weather subsides, there can still be a few days of hazards on the roads and as a pedestrian, especially ice. So it is important that you prepare your work premises by gritting the grounds and restricting access to any particularly dangerous areas to reduce the risk of anyone slipping or tripping.
You should also advise your employees to wear appropriate footwear on their travels, so avoid heels or shoes with little to no grip, as well as allowing them more time for travelling, so flexibility on arrival times should be noted.
Another consequence of extreme weather is illness. Unfortunately, it can’t always be avoided and we are all susceptible to getting sick this time of year especially when temperatures drop dramatically.
As an employer, the one thing you can do is put precautions in place to reduce the rapid spread of sickness throughout the workplace which could result in a lot of absence.
It’s important to keep the workplace clean and free of germs, so encourage good practices such as washing hands, putting tissues into bins and washing all kitchen appliances thoroughly.
You could also advise sick employees to stay at home or work remotely until they are past the contagious stage, or isolate them from their colleagues for a day or two to reduce the chances of spreading.
Finally, make sure that you communicate clearly with your employees throughout extreme weather conditions so that they are aware of any office closures, options to work from home and good hygiene practices.
You can also provide them with various online training courses that are perfect for these kinds of dangers such as: