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Winter can pose a lot of challenges for workplaces, no matter what the environment is. There are concerns for construction workers, employees in customer service, and office staff. Winter can create hazards like cold buildings that increase illness, unsafe walkways from snow and ice, or even unexpected weather emergencies.

Despite these challenges, there are ways to help your employees stay safe in the winter. Learn more about how you can help!

Provide Warm Workplaces

Even though being cold doesn’t directly cause illness, employees working in a cold building or on an outdoor site without proper shelter will have a harder time trying to fight infection. Why? Being cold compromises our immune system because the cold air in our nasal passages makes it more difficult for cells to fight off viruses.

It’s important to provide a properly working HVAC system. You can monitor the airflow and heat dispersion with flow meters to ensure the building is getting adequate heat.

Remove Snow and Ice

There should be a snow and ice removal protocol in place during and after inclement weather. Snow removal services or even janitorial staff should be available to clear sidewalks and parking lots, but also other areas to consider. For example, lifts, ladders, and roofs should have safe footing for everyone using them. In these hard-to-reach areas, you’ll have to consider using de-icing products.

Education on Cold Stress

Cold stress is when your body is unable to warm itself, and it can lead to severe illnesses and injury, including frostbite and hypothermia. If you have staff that’s exposed to the harsh winter elements, you need to provide communication and education on how they can recognize those signs and what to do if they occur. Try to plan any outdoor work for warmer parts of the year, but if that’s not an option, provide adequate warm clothing for them.

Emergency Plan

OSHA requires that very workplace with ten or more employees needs to have an emergency action plan to deal with weather emergencies or natural disasters. You’ll need to instruct employees beforehand on what to do if you’re faced with extreme weather that can cause power outages or any unsafe conditions while in the workplace.

Determining the ways to keep employees stay safe in the winter now before temperatures drop and snow begins to fall will help you be prepared for any circumstances that come your way.