As darker nights draw in and businesses are preparing for the Christmas countdown, our very own Head of Environmental Health here at Shield Safety, Rob Easton, shares his top tips on making this season both a safe and prosperous time for all.
With Log fires roaring and candles flickering on tables, nothing quite beats a warm evening at your local. However, with the cosy winter warmer of candles and log burners comes a few risks. It is seen to be quite common for serious fires to occur this time of year due to a lack of basic controls and discipline but with our advice, we aim to help you avoid this.
- There are around 7000 chimney fires in England every year. Ensure your chimneys are swept before you use them and seek guidance from a professional chimney sweep on how often they should be cleaned
- Check your wood is well seasoned (wood that has been dried out) and make sure your team is well trained on how to build and maintain a fire safely, this includes burning it down at the end of a shift and disposing of ash
- Candles make a great table piece, when using them ensure you have included them in your fire risk assessment
Has your team had training on Fire Safety? If not, check out our training tools for this here.
I say, let it snow!
Although snow and ice is exciting for some, it also has the potential to make a trip treacherous so here are some tips on how to prevent any accidents.
- Clear your roads and pathways, and your guests and colleagues should be able to access the entrance to the venue with ease. Not only is it unsafe for your entrance to be unclear but it can be bad for business. We recommend that you write a snow and ice plan stating which paths will be kept clear to allow safe access.
- Ensure you have suitable equipment to hand to move or treat snow and ice, the British weather can be very unpredictable.
- Pre-plan! If it is forecasted to be extremely cold, place the grit and salt down before the ice has formed, and remember to re-apply regularly as it can be washed away with melted ice and snow.
- Consider the risk of slips and trips, as people enter a building with wet shoes. Place a mat at the entrance so people can wipe their shoes. Think about an umbrella rack too, stopping any access water from spilling onto the floor!
With the anticipated peak in trade and it being the busiest time of year for hospitality, it’s likely that more workers will be employed, and longer hours will be given. Consider their training and well-being with the following tips:
- Even though your workers may only be working for a few weeks, it is essential they get trained on how to work safely, and that the policies and procedures are relevant to their role. To read more on how to manage your temporary team, read here.
- Make sure to always check in with your team, it can be a stressful time, especially with the extra hours of work they may be doing. Consider your team’s mental well-being with our mental health, first aid training which you can access here. Employee Assistance Programmes are also a useful source to support your team and give them access to professional help on a range of topics.
Avoid slips and trips
Around 30% of all workplace accidents are due to slips and trips, and this percentage has the potential to increase as the nights get darker. If outside areas aren’t illuminated properly then the smallest trip hazard or change in floor level can become quite significant, so let’s minimise risk together with the following tips:
- Consider walking the premises at night, making sure all paths are well-lit. It should become part of the daily checks you complete at your business. Remember, well-lit paths will not be as obvious during the day so consider doing this as the night draws in. Our digital monitoring on RiskProof is the perfect place to record your daily, weekly, and monthly checks. It gives you the reassurance that the business is safe for your team and guests.
Hygiene and health
The incidents of Norovirus and respiratory illnesses normally rise during the colder months; not only is this unpleasant for the person with the illness but also it can have a significant impact on team levels as it can be damaging for the business if they are associated with a virus outbreak.
- Always encourage good hygiene. Hand wash basins should be well stocked with soap, accompanied by something to dry your hands with. Ensure any food handlers with diarrhea and vomiting are excluded from the workplace.
- Remind your team of gastrointestinal illnesses and be extra vigilant at this time of year.
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