Keeping Workers Safe This Winter

During the winter months, workers, especially those working outside, at height or on the road are at a higher risk of injury. These risks can be due to:

  • Shorter days causing less visibility
  • Rain, ice, and snow causing slip hazards
  • The cold weather causing hypothermia

With the winters adverse weather conditions, it is more important than ever to have safety solutions in place to keep vulnerable workers safe. In 2018 an incident that happened in Scotland is just one example of why keeping workers safe during the winter is so important.

BBC News reports that in January 2018 Ronnie Alexander, a 74 year old wind farm security guard was exposed to extreme weather conditions for several hours resulting in him later dying in hospital. The construction firm Northstone and security firm Corporate Services Management failed to provide a reliable source of heating at the site where Mr. Alexander was working. The companies also failed to provide an adequate system of communication so their staff could contact emergency services. They both also failed to ensure there was an evacuation plan in place for the security guards in an emergency. On the day of Ronnie Alexanders death, the Met Office had issued a yellow “be aware” warning for heavy snow across large areas of Scotland. With the extreme weather conditions already forecast, there is no excuse for safety measures to not be in place.

Luckily incidents like that of Ronnie Alexanders case are rare and can be easily avoided. Ensuring workers have the correct workwear for the weather conditions is just one way to keep workers safe. Warm clothing and anti-slip boots should be provided to all workers who are at risk. In addition, checking the forecast for extreme weather conditions can greatly lower the risk of injury. Lone workers are particularly vulnerable this time of year. The HSE says employers should provide ‘training, supervision, monitoring and support for lone workers’ including ‘adequate and reliable means of communication and a way to call for help’. One way of making this easier is with a lone worker device. These lone worker devices can not only help locate workers but also provide panic buttons if they do run into danger while working.

These are just a few of the ways to keep workers safe during the winter months. In December we will be publishing a special edition of our Salus e-magazine focusing on winter safety. If you provide safety solutions to help workers through this time of year and you would like to be featured, get in contact-, features start from just £250. Alternatively, you can sign up to receive our newsletters here.