Preparation is key for winter site safety

Neil Howe
Neil Howe

CONSTRUCTION industry employers are being urged to be mindful of their responsibilities to keep workers safe as the colder winter days starts to bite.

Neil Howe, senior legal author with online safety specialists Cedrec, says that while no-one can predict exactly what the weather’s going to be like over this winter, it is at least possible for companies to be ready when things take a turn for the worse.

The key to success is to adopt a common sense approach, striking a balance between asking employees to make all reasonable efforts to be mindful at work while not encouraging them to take any undue risks with their safety in mind.

Employers are responsible for making sure the workplace is safe so far as is reasonably practicable and should consider instigating an adverse weather policy ahead of the traditionally colder, bitter and icy months of deep winter. It’s important that this policy, which sets out an organisation’s position and how it will handle issues surrounding bad weather, is communicated and properly explained to all staff.

Neil Howe said, “Cold weather and shorter daylight hours mean there is more potential for accidents to happen, particularly for those working outdoors where the winter months add to the challenge of staying safe. Sectors like construction are perhaps more susceptible; so they should have robust procedures in place to make sure workers, and especially lone workers, are kept safe and secure.”

He adds that some simple precautions can be taken to prevent accidents such as slips and trips. An initial risk assessment will identify potential hazards.