Winter has arrived and with it comes lower temperatures, snow, and ice! Whether it’s a full-blown blizzard or just a cold snap, the onset of winter means that it’s time for businesses to think about their winter safety plan. A winter safety plan typically includes proactive steps to reduce injuries related to winter weather, minimizing cold exposure, and communication plans. Consider the following safety tips when developing or reviewing a winter safety plan:

Minimize Slippery Areas

  • De-ice parking lots, sidewalks, entryways, and outdoor break areas
  • Reroute people using caution signs, rope, cones, or tape
  • Put mats down over slipper spots
  • Mop up any standing water, especially on tile or marble
  • Set aside a place for wet umbrellas, raincoats, and shoes

Set Up A Communications Plan

  • Monitor severe weather announcements
  • Set up a call tree, group text, or email blast to communicate weather updates
  • Consider canceling work, adjusting hours, or asking employees to work remotely
  • Ensure you have a way to connect with workers in the field if severe weather arrives

Promote Winter Driving Safety

  • Train employees to operate work vehicles on best practices for winter driving
  • Supply company vehicles with ice scrapers, emergency kits, shovels, and snow tires as needed
  • When possible, cancel tasks that require driving until bad weather clears up

Minimize Cold Exposure

  • Instruct outdoor employees to take breaks and work in shorter shifts
  • Rotate employees to reduce outdoor time
  • Set up outdoor heaters
  • Save non-essential outdoor tasks for winter months
  • Educate outdoor staff on the risks and signs of cold stress

Winterize Your Building

  • Set faucets to drip to avoid frozen pipes
  • Inspect and repair indoor and outdoor insulation
  • Have your HVAC system checked and maintained
  • Relocate any materials or equipment that could be damaged by extreme cold and snow
  • Make your carbon monoxide detectors are in good, working condition

For more information on winter weather safety and how to prepare your business for any winter weather events from OSHA, click here.