Winter Safety Advice For Small Businesses
24th October 2013
Our personal injury solicitors are expecting to see a lot more slip and trip claims in the coming months as the winter takes hold and the floors become frosty. Businesses can also expect to see a lot of employee absences in the near future, with the cold and flu season striking and with workers falling ill and taking sick leave, or dragging themselves into work while contagious and infecting co-workers.
It is thought that the business cost of illnesses, transport problems and accidents over the winter months can be as high as £1.3 billion every day in the UK alone. Furthermore, around one-third of all serious workplace accidents are slips and trips, with this hazard costing employers over £500 million every year in accident at work compensation claims, employee absences and other related costs.
Therefore, our no win no fee solicitors would advise employers to think proactively about the problems they may encounter in the immediate future and to take steps to prevent these problems from arising. One of the most frustrating things in many slip and trip compensation claims is how easily the initial accident could have been avoided had employers considered that their health and safety provisions should take winter weather conditions into account. Ice, frost and slippery surfaces are inevitable in the UK over winter, and slip, trip and fall injuries caused by these factors are therefore frequently entirely foreseeable.
Winter Survival Plans For Uk Businesses
Workplace services provider PHS Group recently outlined a 10-point winter survival plan that businesses can use to protect themselves against the elements. These should reduce slip and trip injuries, minimise the spread of contagious diseases and allow businesses to maintain a healthy, happy workforce. Although these guidelines may not be appropriate to all businesses, some are relevant to absolutely every employer.
1- Gather an emergency safety kit, containing snow shovels, rock salt and sand. Sand and rock salt can be put on icy surfaces to melt the ice or to provide traction.
2- Inform staff about the rules for travelling to and from work. Appoint someone as a First Aid specialist, providing appropriate training if required, and set up an emergency contact point.
3- Provide outdoor workers with appropriate footwear and warm layered clothing.
4- Put rock salt down when it becomes icy.
5- Pay attention to the news and the Met Office to find out information about the weather and any changing conditions.
6- Try to reduce travel as much as possible. If driving cannot be avoided, put a disaster supplies kit into every vehicle in the company’s fleet.
7- Provide staff with antibacterial hand gel to minimise the spread of infection.
8- Put mats outside any commercial property to soak up the water when snow melts
9- Ensure that staff working outdoors are provided with high-visibility clothing so they can be seen when it becomes dark or foggy
10- Test boilers and heaters regularly
Although the weather is not particularly bad now, sub-zero temperatures could be just a few weeks away. Personal injury solicitors would warn companies to begin preparing for this sooner rather than later.