Is Your Company Prepared for Winter Workplace Hazards?


Winter and freezing weather are quickly approaching, and so are the unique workplace hazards that occur during this time. It’s vital to ensure your facility and employees are prepared and well-equipped for the season ahead.

Potential Winter Hazards

  • Winter driving conditions.
  • Slips on snow and ice – Slips, trips and falls happen year-round, of course, but winter ice and snow create a more hazardous environment that increases the risk of worker injuries.
  • Working Near Downed or Damaged Power Lines
  • Icy work surfaces – Bridges freeze more quickly than the roads leading to them, and scaffolds, ladders, and similar surfaces also accumulate ice well before ground surfaces.
  • Rooftop snow – Architects and engineers generally factor the load of snowfalls into the structural design, but it’s a good idea to verify how the roof will handle expected snowfalls.
  • Frost bite and hypothermia – Frostbite and hypothermia are the consequences of cold exposure, and both can have long-lasting effects. If you suspect either condition, call for help.
  • Lack of fluids – We tend to think of dehydration primarily as a summertime problem, but it can be just as dangerous on the coldest days. The extra layers of clothing workers wear to stay warm can dehydrate them surprisingly quickly.
  • Lack of sufficient funds to aid in winter safety precautions.

How to Prepare/Avoid These Hazards

  • Make a list of potential hazards to discuss with your crew. Evaluate the potential risk of each hazard: number of employees who could be affected, the potential frequency of risk and the potential impact of the surrounding area or equipment.
  • Be sure that all employees are properly trained and know their role to prevent hazards or control the situation when one occurs.
  • Provide the proper, up-to-date equipment needed to perform winter work. Plan to ensure all necessary employees have cold weather gear such as gloves, hats, liners, glare protection, coats, etc.
  • Budget out funds for crisis situations including broken equipment, absent workers, food for extra-long shifts, emergency generators, and transportation costs.
  • Keep employees, and management, informed when potential hazardous weather is anticipated.
  • Be sure to have backup equipment on-hand as well as a list of backup employees or contractors to ensure 24/7 operation.
  • If you currently have backup power and protection in place, maintain and evaluate their condition. Learn what is subject to damage if it freezes and how to protect them.
  • Have food, drinks, blankets and other emergency items to protect employees if they get stuck at the facility.
  • Consider seasonal training exercises and company specific print material to handout to employees to reinforce safety measures.
  • Review absenteeism rate from previous winters and evaluate how it could affect business this season.
  • Distribute efficient safety measures around your facility, for example, laying down salt or sand outside to prevent slips, trips and falls (be sure to produce this at accurate times). Your employees may be risking their safety to come to work in the winter, so provide all necessary precautions to keep them safe.
  • If there is widespread power or cell outage due to winter events, determine your plan of action ahead of time.
  • Document all injuries and difficulties during the winter season. This will also help with budgeting and planning for the future.


Have BDeWees Consulting help prepare your company for the upcoming winter safety hazards. Contact Jim DePew below to discuss how we can assist.

Jim DePew
Vice President & Consultant
Mobile: (330) 631-9022
Office: (330) 915-2355 Ext: 103
Email: [email protected]