As an HR Manager or small business owner, you must ensure your employees feel safe and comfortable even when the weather is foul outside. Whether it’s heavy rain that makes it difficult for people to get back home or frosty conditions that threaten your staff members’ health, you need to do certain things to ensure your employees’ safety and comfort.
Additionally, you might need to consider work from home options if employees cannot come in to work due to natural disasters or simply terrible weather. In this article, we’ll discuss eight ways tips to keep your employees safe and comfortable during foul weather.
Foul Weather Gear
You must ensure your employees have proper access to foul weather gear. Appropriate equipment like jackets, parkas, raincoats, gloves, hats, and boots should be worn, though it is not necessarily the responsibility of employers to provide this. However, if special weather protection is needed, such as hard hats, slip-resistant footwear and more, employers should make it available on site according to PPE regulations.
Bad Weather Policy
Every organization should have a policy outlining procedures for bad weather. If you include a bad weather policy in your employees’ handbook, you can rest assured that they will know what to do. Poor weather can strike without warning so it’s important to be prepared. A bad weather policy will prepare you and your employees for what to do when heavy rain, sleet, ice, or snow sets in.
Accommodate Days off if Necessary
You might consider giving your employees a day off in case of poor weather warnings. Bad weather frustrates people and makes them lethargic. So, even if they can complete their work, this work might not meet your company’s standards. It’s best to give them the day off, and they’ll come back to work the next day reinvigorated and more productive. Alternatively, if you cannot afford to give days off, ensure your employees can work from home when terrible weather sets in.
Prevent or Compensate Falls
Suppose a day off is unfeasible and you need some employees to come into work. You need to ensure your premises’ walkways, parking lots, and floors are clean, dry, and free of snow or water. Ensure your site is safe to prevent falls or other accidents. Not only is this part of your duty of care to your staff, but it will help avoid injury-related absences that can be detrimental to your business’ productivity.
Create an Employee Notification System
Creating an employee notification system is absolutely crucial. Your employees need to know who will notify them and pass on messages regarding bad weather. They should know who to contact to check the conditions in the workplace and if you expect them to come in. If you have essential personnel that need to come in irrespective of the weather, identify them beforehand and ensure proper protective gear is provided.
Use Company Vehicles during Foul Weather
If your employees drive to work or take public transport, they might feel wary about coming to work in bad weather. Therefore, you need to ensure your company vehicle is available in these circumstances. Proper safety practices while driving during severe weather is a must.
There are a few things you need to do to prepare your company vehicles:
- Check your vehicles and perform regular winter and rain safety checks.
- A mechanic should check the battery, tires, brakes, heater, defroster, wipers, antifreeze, and other components.
- Equip all company vehicles with a first aid kit, blanket, flares, flashlight, snow scraper, umbrella, and a small shovel.
- Your company’s drivers need to know who to contact during emergencies. Have a corporate tie-up with a local roadside assistance program.
Print out driver safety information for employees who prefer driving themselves despite the weather conditions.
Prevent Weather Related Injuries on the Job
Your employees need sufficient breaks to stretch, warm up, and have some coffee. This will help keep them keep warm and healthy while working. Plus, you should ensure that climate control is at the optimum temperature. It shouldn’t be too cold or too hot. Do not go below 16° Celsius.
Pay Your Employees Properly
During bad weather, you need to pay to help your employees maintain their safety and financial security if they miss work. Of course, the level of payment will depend on the employee’s role.
For example, a non-exempt employee is paid only for the hours they work, and an exempt employee must be paid when you shut the office for foul weather. You should ensure you have a policy in place to cover this, and ideally compensate non-exempt employees as well.
Foul weather can be a serious threat to your employees’ safety. As an organization with employees working hard for you, you need to ensure you keep your employees comfortable and safe during foul weather. You’ll create a bond and increase productivity when you look after your employees’ safety and comfort.
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