We all know that the winter can bring with it more challenging weather conditions. And with winter weather can come risk to businesses.
Not only can winter weather cause severe disruption to the normal running of a business, it also enhances your duties as an employer to take sufficient care of your employees. And requires you to focus on health and safety and having appropriate procedures in place to minimise the risk of adverse weather to your employees.
As a business, the most important thing that you can do is to be prepared. Ensure that you think ahead about the risks that your business may face as a result of poor weather conditions.
Check upcoming forecasts
Keep on top of the weather forecasts and know what is coming. The Environment Agency and the Met Office have some very useful tools which you can make use of.
Take care of your premises
Reduce the likelihood of a public liability insurance or employers’ liability insurance claim by thinking about access to your business premises. Make sure any snow or ice is cleared and that you have gritted slippery surfaces for example.
Create an employee communication plan
Have a communication plan in place. In adverse weather conditions can your employees work from home? Can they delay travel times until the weather clears etc. If you communicate this to employees, they can then make informed decisions which best help to keep them safe.
Driver guidelines and risk assessments
If you employ drivers as part of your business, it will be vitally important that you comply with health and safety law and think of the risks they may face when driving in poor weather conditions. This can range from carrying out risk assessments to producing guidelines for driving in various different weather conditions (including winter).
Essential equipment for employees and drivers
You may also look to issue your drivers with a winter emergency driving kit – including things like a torch, blanket, high visibility jacket etc. You may also want to encourage your other employees to have a kit like this in their vehicle when driving to and from your place of work.
Check your fleet vehicles
Vehicle maintenance checks will also become more important in the winter months (although should be carried out regularly regardless of time of year). Read our advice on preparing your fleet business for winter.
Check your flood risk
Flooding is another significant risk in the winter months. Something which has already been in the news. Knowing if you are at risk and how you would respond to a flood will be key to minimising business disruption and damage. And ensuring employee safety. Read our recent blog on preparing a business contingency plan for flooding
At Anthony Jones we believe that as a business, whatever area you work in, risk management should be an area of focus. And keeping on top of weather forecasts and having plans in place can not only help you minimise the winter weather risk to your business but also ensure you stay on top of any legislation or statutory duties you have as a business owner. If you have any questions about managing risk within your business don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – we are always happy to help.