Ice, Ice, Safety: 3 Overlooked Winter Hazards Impacting Workplace Safety

In the lead-up to winter, it’s prime time to tackle the top three hazards that pose risks to employees: slips, trips, and falls; cold stress; and winter driving. With temperatures plunging and frosty winds blowing, these challenges are amplified, making it essential to implement a comprehensive Winter Safety Plan.

1. Slips, Trips, and Falls:

Winter conditions transform walking surfaces slippery hazards, causing injuries from muscle soreness to serious head injuries. According to WorkSafeBC, there’s an 11% increase in injuries from slips trips and falls during the winter months. To mitigate these risks:

  • Clearly define worker responsibilities for keeping walkways, stairs, and entrance-ways ice-free, especially during sudden weather changes.
  • Provide training, tools, and equipment for staff to quickly address icy conditions.
  • Increase awareness through safety talks, emphasizing the importance of proper footwear and reporting hazards.
  • Regularly assess the effectiveness of prevention measures, ensuring swift snow and ice clearance.

2. Cold Stress:

Cold stress, leading to frostbite and hypothermia, poses a serious threat to those working outdoors. Cold Stress occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below 36 or 37°C in extremely cold, windy and/or wet conditions. Like slips, trips, and falls, about 80% of cold stress-related injuries happen from November to March. To combat the cold:

  • Train supervisors and workers on hazards, prevention, safe practices for cold-related illnesses.
  • Monitor outdoor workers and help acclimatize new employees to cold conditions.
  • Provide breaks, warming shelters, and organize work schedules to alternate be-tween cold and warm environments.

3. Winter Driving:

Winter driving poses additional risks and workers are 18% more likely to be injured in a motor vehicle accident during the cold months. For employees who drive company vehicles as part of their job, by law, their vehicle is considered their workplace. Establishing safety procedures similar to any workplace is critical. Ensure workplace safety by:

  • Communicating safety tips to all drivers, including using snow tires, adjusting speed, and checking road conditions.
  • Enforcing vehicle preparation checks, including defrosters, brakes, lights, and indicators.
  • Emphasizing the importance of a well-maintained vehicle and carrying winter survival gear.

By incorporating proactive measures into your Winter Safety Plan and communicating them effectively, you can help significantly reduce the risks associated with winter hazards, keeping employees and worksites safe this winter.

Want another layer of protection this winter sea-son? Equip your workforce with WORKHORSE® brand winter safety gear. WORKHORSE® offers a wide range of safety products that are essential for winter work conditions, from mitts to first aid kits. Contact us or reach out to your local Bunzl Safety representative to start building a winter-ready workplace!

More Tips, Tools & Trends

Beat the Heat

How to recognize, avoid and beat heat stress As summer approaches and temperatures soar, it’s important to talk about how

Learn more >

Leading Brands