05 Jan

2022

Cold Weather and Extreme Winter Storm Safety

posted by: Karen Spottiswood

While the characteristics of winter weather vary with location, every business faces changing threats as winter approaches. Snow, rain, plummeting temperatures, illness outbreaks, dangerous driving conditions, and increased fire dangers are just a few of the threats that may impact your people and business this winter.

Winter weather, especially snowstorms, are known to be disruptive to daily life and business operations which makes preparing for cold weather and extreme winter storms very important.  Keeping communication open and ensuring employees will be taken care of in an emergency is important for all businesses.  To ensure your business is ready for the winter season, consider these tips:

Be Cautious of Slip and Falls

Slip and fall accidents can happen at any time of year but are the most common accident in the winter as ice and snow create hazardous conditions for anyone to walk on.  Make sure snow and ice are cleared from the property and put a mat inside the door to reduce the amount of snow and ice being dragged inside. You should also keep the floors clean and in good condition to help prevent falls.

 

Take Heed of Frostbite and Hypothermia

Exposure to cold can cause frostbite or hypothermia and has the potential to become life-threatening.

  • Frostbite – Whether you’ve been shoveling snow or out for a walk, be vigilant for signs of frostbite such as loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities. If you notice any of these signs, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Hypothermia – If you or someone you know has been exposed to extreme cold, watch for signs of hypothermia such as uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and exhaustion. Seek medical help as soon as possible.

Have a Plan of Action

Winter weather emergency plan s should include the protocol for power outages, fires, and severe storms.  It is important for this plan to be clear and concise, so your employees can jump into action without any confusion or hesitation.  Decide under what conditions you will either close the facility, have employees work from home, or send employees home early.  Create a checklist of procedures for each type of winter emergency that include actions for before, during, and after the storm and assign an employee for each task.  Your company may want to practice the winter weather emergency plan.  This will not only help your staff become more familiar with the plan, but also help you identify problems with the plan so it can be adjusted before there is a storm.

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