Winter Workplace Safety

winter workplace hazards

Happy New Year everyone!  We hope that you all had a fun and safe New Year's Eve and that you are ready to work together to create a culture of safety within your organization for 2013.

Winter presents a number of challenges­ both indoors and out in the workplace. There are many steps that can be taken to reduce workplace hazards presented to you and your employees in the workplace.

Plowing and Ice Removal

Make sure that your parking lot is plowed and walkways are shoveled and sanded before workers report to work.  Note:  Be cautious about asking employees to shovel; if they injure themselves, you are responsible.

Shoveling Safety

If you do ask employees to shovel, here are precautions they need to take.

  • Stretch beforehand;
  • Avoid consuming anything that increases the heart rate, especially caffeine and nicotine;
  • Start slowly, work at a steady pace and take frequent breaks;
  • Stay hydrated � Dehydration can cause dizziness and/or fainting;
  • Choose a small lightweight shovel with a curved handle which is designed to take the strain off the back;
  • Stand with feet apart slightly and bend knees while lifting;
  • Wear multiple layers for insulation, and so that you can shed layers if you become overheated. Be sure to cover your extremities to guard against frostbite.

Appropriate Winter Dress

Workers should avoid exposure to extremely cold temperatures when possible. When cold environments or temperatures can not be avoided, workers should follow these clothing recommendations.

  • Wear several layers of loose clothing. Layering provides better insulation.
  • Tight clothing reduces blood circulation. Warm blood needs to be circulated to the extremities.
  • When choosing clothing, be aware that some clothing may restrict movement resulting in a hazardous situation.
  • Boots should be waterproof and insulated.
  • Wear a hat; it will keep your whole body warmer. (Hats reduce the amount of body heat that escapes from your head.)
  • Wear mittens (they retain body heat better than gloves) Hand and foot heating packs can also be helpful.

Walking Safety

Even office workers have to do at least some walking outside. Educate your employees to keep an eye out for ice, and to walk as a duck would walk, as if slightly squatting (to center your balance). This will help you avoid slipping and falling.

Heater Safety

It is unwise to use space heaters in an office setting � especially near paper or other flammables.  Your heating system should be inspected and kept in good order. You must also make sure that all heating grates are clear of obstacles such as boxes or stacks of paper. 

Arbill works hard to keep your employees safe everyday, all year.  While each season comes with its own safety hazards, winter presents some extra challenges. Arbill offers more than the safety products and PPE needed to keep your employees safe, we offer the guidance, education and support needed to build a culture of safety in your organization. 

Please visit for more safety information and be sure to subscribe to the Arbill Safety BLOG to get up to the minute safety information. We hope to see you back on Friday when we talk about Off the Job Safety.