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Protect Against Winter Weather Hazards, Storm Threats

Society for Human Resource Management (12/08/13) Roy Maurer

Employers need to prepare the workplace for winter weather hazards now, because employee injuries and illness, power loss, communication disruptions, supply chain disruptions, property damage, transportation accidents, and compromised access to facilities could pose risks. Before winter storms occur, employers should review their insurance coverage, identify their greatest risk potentials, create an inclement-weather attendance policy for employees to ensure their safety, discuss weather preparedness with vendors, and determine who is responsible for clearing snow and ice.

Plans for restoring electrical service, stockpiling emergency supplies, servicing generators and heating equipment, communicating with employees, and ensuring remote access to the company’s website are among other prestorm considerations. After the storm, the facility should be inspected for downed power lines, snow accumulation on the roof, frozen pipes, and icy walkways and parking lots, and steps should be taken to prevent slips and falls among employees. Moreover, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration says health and safety plans should include appropriate engineering controls, personal protective equipment, and work practices to minimize the risk of cold stress on workers.