Prepare Your Office for the Winter Season
Winter Safety Tips
Date Created: 2019-12-17


Prepare Your Office for the Winter Season

Winter isn’t coming—it’s here. The falling snow and frigid air are good reminders to prepare your workplace for the winter months ahead. From power outages to workplace injuries, winter weather can have some chilling effects on your business operations. Read on to understand why workplace safety is important and the winter workplace safety measures your organization should take this season.

Why invest in workplace safety?

Work Injuries Icon
42,480 work injuries
Work Injuries Icon
82% of injuries from falls

Winter weather can cause many workplace injuries and safety hazards. Don’t think your organization is immune. For example, in 2014, there were 42,480 work injuries involving ice, sleet, or snow that required at least one day to recuperate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These injuries resulted from falls, slips & trips, overexertion, & bodily reaction, and ransportation incidents. 82% of the 42,480 injuries were due to falls. However, had the proper winter workplace safety precautions been taken, many of these workplace injuries likely could have been prevented.

Workplace injuries not only result in lost work hours, but safety violations can also lead to costly fines. The average penalty for a willful or repeated violation is $132,598, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Additionally, your insurance rate will go up with the more workers' compensation costs your organization takes on. To avoid these expenses, it’s best to implement loss prevention strategies before workplace accidents happen. Through human resource and risk management tactics, you can build toward a more secure future for your company while saving time and cutting costs for your business in the process.

HVAC system

Cold temperatures lead to tightly sealed workplaces, so the office can get a bit stuffy during the winter months. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the levels of contaminants and pollutants found in indoor air can be between 2 and 5 times higher than outdoor air.

To prevent the accumulation and buildup of ontaminants inside your workplace, use cleaning, break room, maintenance, and office supplies that don’t emit vapors or distribute contaminants. Also, take advantage of warm winter days to open the windows and filter some of the air out.

By installing an automated HVAC system that regulates and maintains temperatures, one can ensure the comfort, happiness, and productivity levels of their employees stay at their full potential.

Prevent slip-and-fall accidents

  • Adding extra floor mats and wet signs can decrease the number of accidents.
  • Scheduling regular maintenance checks to avoid asset breakdowns or damage.
  • Daily floor cleaning is a must in the winter.

Avoid seasonal bugs

Everyone knows Houston weather is a constant change. One day it could be 80 degrees, and the next day could be 30 degrees. The flu and other illnesses become a constant battle during this time of year. What can you do to prevent seasonal illnesses in your office?

  • Provide ample amount of tissues and hand sanitizer
  • Adding more plants can play a vital role in helping clean, revitalize, and remove chemicals from the air
  • Plants can control humidity, improving employee hydration and helping everyone to be more comfortable
  • Enforce vaccinations
  • Frequent handwashing
  • Staying in shape

Prepare for mobile and outdoor employees

Outdoor work requires proper preparation, especially in severe winter weather conditions. Employers should train workers on the hazards of the job and safety measures to use, such as engineering controls and safe work practices, that will protect workers' safety and health. Safe work practices that employers can implement to protect workers from injuries, illnesses, and fatalities include:

  • Developing work plans that identify potential hazards and the safety measures that will be used to protect workers
  • Scheduling maintenance and repair jobs for warmer months
  • Scheduling jobs that expose workers to the cold weather in the warmer part of the day
  • Knowing the signs of cold stress

Communicate effectively and often/winter threats

Communicating and showing concern to employees when a big storm is coming can help prevent many accidents.

  • Allow a work-from-home option for bad weather or those who get sick.
  • If you allow space heaters in the office, be sure to educate your employees on proper use, such as not placing anything within three feet of the heater.
The most important thing you can do is let your employees know you have their best interest at heart.

Source: https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/42480-work-injuries-involved-ice-sleet-or-snow-in-2014.htm/
Source: https://www.osha.gov/penalties/