Winter safety in the workplace
Summer is drawing to a close. The schools have reopened after the long holidays. The days are getting shorter, and this year it seems the good weather is waning as early too and, therefore, it’s a good time to start thinking about winter safety in the workplace.
Yet we all have to continue heading to the office or workplace over the coming winter months.
Is there anything we can do as individuals to ‘survive’ winter in the workplace, or companies can do to ensure the needs of employees are met?
9 Tips for Winter in the Office
Start the day a little earlier.
It’s dark anyway, but those few extra minutes in the morning allow you to prepare on chill icy days. The car may need de-icing and warming up before you set off, don’t leave it until the last minute and rush. If there’s a ‘snow day’ you may need to make alternative travel plans, so check the forecast and think ahead.
Wrap up warm or even take a blanket to work. When your day involves a lot of sitting down, you’ll be more likely to feel the cold.
Take a hot drink/insulated coffee mug and regular tea breaks.
Help keep your core temperature up with hot drinks, and consider taking leftover hot meals or soups for lunches. If the workplace doesn’t have a microwave, you can get insulated food containers to do the job.
Take some indoor exercise.
If you usually leave your desk at lunch hour and head out to stretch your legs, you may have a feeling of cabin fever while cooped up on dark wet and windy days during winter. How about planning an office exercise class to get the blood pumping?! A few stretches and some energising music will not only warm you all up but get those feel good endorphins flowing.
Look after personal hygiene.
When people are confined to smaller, enclosed spaces, the spread of germs is much easier. Coughs and colds tend to be more prevalent during winter, aided by us all staying indoors and spreading them oh so easily. Follow the NHS motto ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ to try and prevent the spread of germs which cause colds and influenza virus. Keep a supply of tissues and hand gel at your desk for such occasions.
Keep the office warm.
Ensure the boiler has been checked over the summer months to avoid unexpected surprises once it is needed in winter. Have a ready supply of hot beverages for employees to help themselves at any given time. It depends what you read, but the ideal office temperature is around 22C, so try and aim for that to keep the majority happy. If you are in the hospitality industry or running a bar & restaurant with external seating areas you might consider installing patio heaters for your patrons.
Increase the lighting.
Winter days are dark and gloomy. Many people during winter are predisposed to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), triggered by not enough sunlight. One of the days of treating SAD is to try and increase the amount of daylight, and “making home and work environments as light and airy as possible” (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/treatment/). So it really is important for all of us to live and work in brighter places, and therfore the onus is on businesses to ensure their workplace is as pleasant as possible, all year round.
Avoid ‘slips and trips’ at work.
Slips and trips at work are common and could come at considerable cost to the employer. During winter, take special precautions against wet and icy conditions. For example, ensure mats are placed at entrances to wipe feet, along with wet floor warning signs. In icy conditions, use grit on icy walkways, or divert people to less icy ones. Use warning signs, and even consider covering walkways (http://www.hse.gov.uk/slips/faq.htm#icy-conditions).
Help prevent the spread of germs.
Try and maintain the health of the workforce by encouraging regular hand washing, and place signs in prominent places such as the kitchen and washrooms displaying correct handwashing technique and the “catch it, bin it, kill it” message to prevent the spread of coughs and colds. Ensure therefore that hand soap and hand sanitizer is in constant supply, as well as paper hand towels and facial tissues. Surfaces should be regularly disinfected, including also desks, computer keyboards/mouse and other personal equipment. Ensure the environment is well ventilated.
We hope to have covered a few vital tips for keeping a healthy and happy winter workplace, and have a wealth of office supplies to keep businesses well stocked during the winter months.
Here at Loorolls, we pride ourselves to being a leading stockist of disposable paper products & toilet supplies and a supplier of janitorial & cleaning products nationwide. You can open a trade account online to enjoy bulk discounts or call us on 0151 342 2111 for bigger discount on your first order.