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4 Steps to Keep Your Workers & Facility Safe This Winter

03 February, 2023


  • 25% of all businesses that suffer a major disaster never reopen.  
  • Small businesses are especially vulnerable to disasters since they have fewer funds and personnel to restart operations and recover losses. 
  • 36,000 workplace illnesses and injuries related to ice, sleet, or snow in 2021. 
  • 80% of injuries are due to falls on the same level. 

No standard exists for determining when ice accumulation is severe enough that it will endanger workers, but here are four steps to help maintain a safe work environment this season, regardless of the size?or type of workplace you have. 

1. Review Your Emergency Action Plan (EAP)

Emergency-planning-meetingOSHA requires workplaces with 10 or more employees to have a written emergency action plan. Here are important emergency planning considerations: 

  • Impact on operations:?Discuss seasonal hazards that occur in your area, and what to prepare for. Include power outages and blackouts from high winds and storms, proper snow and ice removal procedures, and emergency evacuation routes. 
  • Emergency communications: Ensure employees know how to respond, who to contact, and how to communicate. 
  • Emergency drills:?Conduct drills and evaluate areas for improvement. Designate emergency leaders for each work area.

2. Perform a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA)

Identify hazards in the workplace before they occur. Consider how a worker's normal tasks, tools, and work environment may need to change during foul winter weather.

Job Hazard Analysis Checklist

3. Prevent Cold-Related Illnesses & Injuries

Winter Safety worker PPEPeople in the cold are at risk of cold-related illnesses and injuries. Train all employees in recognizing the signs and symptoms of cold stress, hypothermia, dehydration, and frostbite. Apply these controls to ensure worker safety: 

  • Adapt Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):?Ensure employees have access to protective clothing that provides warmth and require them to dress properly for the conditions. 
  • Prevent fatigue:?Prevent dehydration by providing workers with warm fluids and water. Minimize activities that cause heavy perspiration or reduce circulation. 
  • Use the buddy system:?Have employees work in pairs (or more) to help monitor symptoms such as numbness in the extremities, uncontrolled shivering, pale or blue skin, and loss of coordination. 

4. Highlight Hazards Using Visuals

Protect people from hazards via visual communication. Install signage, floor marking, and wayfinding to prevent slips, trips, and falls 

Highlight Hazards Infographic

Invest in Winter Safety Solutions

PathFinder Tread tape on stepsSafety managers and supervisors must use their own  judgment to alter work practices based on changes in  weather conditions. Workers need to understand how to  work safely when seasonal threats approach. Clear  communication of emergency procedures and posting  reminders about new work procedures for employees is  crucial to ensure overall safety. Visual communication  improves awareness and accident prevention. To see  how our supplies hold up in your environment , request?free label samples. Get started with efficient floor marking in your facility - indoors or outside.