Safety in the Snow- Essential guidance for employers, employees and those with responsibility for health and safety.

After what has seemed to be the longest, coldest, snowiest winter on record; extreme weather is still causing problems all over Scotland. Roads are closed, houses are still without power and the everyday dangers of snow and ice have seen cars stranded, people slipping and injuring themselves and many simply unable to return to their homes.

Even with far better snow plough facilities than neighbouring England, Scotland has found itself struggling to shift the snow and return power to the thousands of homes left in the dark.

For the latest weather information in Scotland, click here.

For health and safety officers, extreme weather causes all sorts of  issues, that aren’t generally faced day to day.  Decisions have to be made that involve weighing up risk and ensuring business continues as close to normality as possible.

Travel to and from workplaces, safety around car parks, slips and trips, suitable outdoor clothing and managing temperatures all come into play, often at short notice.

Barbour EHS have produced 4 documents to help the health and safety professional, employers and employees. These include:

  • A guide to driving in snow and ice
  • A guide for employers
  • A guide for employees
  • A model policy.

Click here to download the guides.

I would recommend giving these out to the relevant staff, posting them on intranets, giving them to friends and generally spreading the word. It is so important

that people are aware of what they can do to lower risk and what their responsibilities are.

Questions that are covered in the guides include:  Should I make my staff come into work in times of extreme weather? What can I do to help my staff prepare for snow and ice? What extra measures should I put in place? As an employee, what are my responsibilities? How should I prepare myself for travel? What is the best way to cope with driving when the roads are slippery?

The model policy helps with implementing a simple, generic policy into your overall health and safety policy, demonstrating that your company can cope with snow and ice and that management will ensure that reasonable control methods will be put in place at this time. The policy can be tailor-made to any company ensuring relevant and bespoke procedure and guidelines.

Before long it will be summer and all of our problems will begin again. Hose pipe bans, extreme heat, air conditioning breakages …. But until then I would suggest ensuring a business continuity plan, some on site grit and a really warm pair of gloves.

Next week …. I’ll be discussing the new April Regulations (including Tower Cranes), getting ready for them, compliance and how they will affect your business.

Has the snow affected your business ? Please feel free to comment below.