Over the past few years, winter weather has debilitated numerous states, including Colorado, with record-low temperatures and astonishing amounts of snow. 

Inclement winter weather often creates dangerous commutes and risky working conditions that jeopardize the safety of your employees. Proactively preparing for winter is one of the best business moves you’ll make this season. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014 more than 42,480 workers suffered injuries from ice, sleet or snow that required one or more days away from work.

Commuting conditions also become hazardous in extreme winter weather. Over 1,300 people are killed and 116,800 people are injured in car crashes annually in the US as a result of snowy and icy road conditions.

While you can’t control road conditions or winter’s unpredictable weather patterns, there are numerous actions employers can take to maintain a safe and productive work environment for employees. 

Promote safety and prevent employee injuries this winter by thoroughly winterizing your workplace with these tips. 

1. Create a Safety Plan

Operations without safety plans are risky business. Workplace safety plans are not only crucial when it comes to employees health and workers comp, but they’re also an OSHA requirement for many industries and states. 

Whether having a safety plan in place for your operation is required or not, it’s best practice for business owners when it comes to protecting your employees and your bottom line. 

Need help creating an effective safety plan? Check out Cake’s “7 Easy Steps to Create an Office Safety Checklist” and OSHA’s “Winter Weather Preparedness” guide for tips and insights.

2. Set Up Weather Alert Notifications

If your company allows for workers to work from home, it’s smart business to notify employees of office closures and inclement weather through automated communication including emails, texts, and phone calls. 

If your business is an operation with outdoor workers, it’s best to halt work on days with intolerable conditions. To ensure a safe workplace on frigid days, minimize cold exposure as much as possible by having workers take breaks and setting up outdoor heaters.

3. Reduce Slippery Surfaces

It’s crucial to proactively address potential slippery areas as you become aware of snowstorms and freezing rain alerts.

Face slippery areas head-on by:

  • Spreading salt or magnesium chloride on sidewalks, parking lots, entrances and other essential outdoor areas
  • Placing mats at building entrances to prevent slippery flooring
  • Using caution signs for wet and slippery areas that need attention
  • Mopping up any water build-up on office tiles or flooring

It's also important to keep in mind that Colorado city residents have 24 hours after it stops snowing to shovel their public sidewalks before being faced with a ticket.

Do your employees and your wallet a favor by being thorough when it comes to shoveling and reducing slippery surfaces in the workplace.

4. Decorate for the Holidays with Safety in Mind

We’re not trying to squash your holiday spirit, but when it comes to office decorating, it’s important to keep basic safety precautions top of mind while decking the halls.

Fire safety should be a priority when decorating. To ensure a safe, but merry, workplace consider the following:

  • Avoid decoration with an open flame
  • Never place staples or nails through strings of light, power or extension chords
  • Verify that all office fire safety equipment is functional and in good shape
  • Metallic Christmas trees are flammable and should not be decorated with lights
  • Don’t compromise essential building emergency exits with decorations
  • Use caution when using ladders and power chords 
  • Follow all relevant OSHA regulations 

5. Promote Safe Driving

Driving accidents are the leading cause of death and injury for all ages. Implementing a driver safety program greatly reduces health risks for employees while also protecting your bottom line. 

Rain, snow and other harsh winter elements can make the roads too risky to safely drive on. If the weather conditions are questionable, so are the roads. Prioritize the safety and wellbeing of your employees by encouraging them to work from home when there are dangerous road conditions. 

6. Safe Space Heater Use

Nothing is more controversial in an office than how the thermostat is set. If you permit employee usage of individual space heaters, it’s crucial to make sure heaters are properly used and located a safe distance from flammable materials. Space heaters should always be unplugged when they’re not being used and should never be left unattended.

7. Prioritize Your Building’s Health

Ensure your building in optimal condition during the dead of winter by keeping up with routine maintenance and monitoring essential systems, such as plumbing and HVAC units. 

It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to inclement and unpredictable winter weather. Be proactive about your building’s health this winter by inspecting and repairing indoor and outdoor insulation. Additionally, allowing your faucet to drip helps to avoid frozen pipes during power outages and emergencies.  

Some business safety regulations are a state mandate in Colorado. The most important and non-negotiable Colorado business safety requirement is workers’ compensation insurance. 

Need Workers’ Comp Coverage for Your Business?

Look no further than Cake Insure. Cake’s innovative technology allows you to get a quote in 90 seconds and an active workers’ comp policy online in less than five minutes. 

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