Why you should prepare for a harsh winter sooner rather than later

As you are no doubt aware, any business can suffer serious repercussions if an accident or injury is sustained on its property or premises. In addition to the legal implications, reputations and revenue can also take a serious hit, which may be difficult to recover from.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense to be prepared for winter with a coherent and comprehensive plan for gritting and snow clearance. Here are a couple of key considerations to bear in mind when it comes to developing a winter maintenance strategy.

Legal obligations

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states “it shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”

While many employers will concentrate on providing a healthy and safe working environment for staff, this legal obligation also extends to anyone visiting or passing the property, such as customers, clients, and members of the public.

During wintertime, it is often difficult to predict or pre-empt when ice and snow will become a problem. Therefore, winter maintenance must be a fundamental part of any organisation’s health and safety plan, long before the cold weather sets in.

Business objectives

Several businesses will implement a bare bones winter maintenance plan in order to meet their required duty of care. However, a lot can be said for going the extra mile, as it may bring about several benefits, such as a reduction in:

  • Staff absence
  • Employee turnover
  • Financial liability
  • Risk of reputational loss

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says that nearly five million days are lost every year through workplace injuries, which also costs the UK economy billions of pounds.

Of these injuries, over a third are categorised as slips, trips and falls. In fact, they make up more than half of all reported major/specified injuries and almost 29 per cent of over-seven-day injuries. To boot, more than 50 per cent of slips and trips occur in the autumn and winter months.

They may seem somewhat innocuous, but slips, trips, and falls need to be addressed with the correct preventative measures. This can be detailed in an adverse weather policy, which states how the organisation will manage certain situations in order to safeguard staff and meet its duty of care. As a result, you will be more than prepared for whatever winter has to throw at your business.