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Summer has now slipped over the horizon and there are lots of things to look forward to during Autumn: playing conkers, Halloween, crackling fires and an extra hour's sleep to name but a few.
However, there are also some things about Autumn that aren't so good. The shorter days often mean your staff are arriving and leaving work in the dark, the leaves all fall off the trees and the temperature drops. All of this combined results in one thing - the risk of slips and trips.
Slips and trips are the most common causes of winter work accidents, accounting for more than 38% of major injuries at work and in today's blog I thought I would highlight your obligations as an employer during the colder weather.
Under The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) employers have to ensure their employees and anyone else who could be affected by their work (such as visitors, members of the public, patients etc.) are kept safe from harm and that their health is not affected. This means slip and trip risks must be controlled to ensure people do not slip, trip and fall.
Top 5 Tips To Preventing Slips and Trips
As an employer it is your duty to assess risks, including slip and trip risks, and where necessary take action to safeguard health and safety. Here are just some of the things you can implement during the colder months that will help you to ensure the health, safety and welfare of your employees at work:
De-ice areas prone to be slippery in frosty and icy conditions such as walkways and car parks. Salt needs time to dissolve so gritting is best done early in the evening before the frost settles and/or early in the morning before employees arrive. It’s advisable to pre-order salt to prepare for a cold snap. If you have salt leftover from last year, check that it is still in a usable condition. If not stored correctly, salt becomes damp and will degrade making it unsuitable for de-icing.
Rain, melting snow and wet feet pose a major slip risk – it’s advisable to install large absorbent mats at building entrances.
Rain, frost and snow cause walkways to become slippery. Use signage to warn pedestrians of areas that become slippery when wet.
Clearing Snow And Ice
Remove the top layer of snow in the morning so sunshine during the day melts the ice beneath. Cover the area with de-icing salt to prevent refreezing.
Leaves create slip risks in two ways – by being a slip risk on pedestrian walkways and by hiding hazards that may be on the paths. Sweep up leaves at regular intervals.
If you need to know how to assess risks within your business then why not attend one of our Risk Assessment courses, either the CIEH Level 2 Award in the Principles of Risk Assessment or the CIEH Level 3 Award in Risk Assessment - Principles and Practice.
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