Winterize Your Business

Prepare your business for the winter season in Colorado and Utah, where extreme weather has become increasingly common with frigid temperatures and heavy snowfall in recent years.

Winter conditions can lead to treacherous commutes and hazardous work environments, posing risks to your employees’ safety. Taking proactive steps to winterize your business is critical for the upcoming season.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, annually, more than 42,000 workers suffer injuries due to ice, sleet, or snow, necessitating time away from work. Additionally, snowy and icy road conditions contribute to over 1,300 fatalities and 116,800 injuries in car accidents annually in the U.S.

While you can’t control the weather, there are numerous actions you can take to ensure a safe and productive work environment for your employees during the winter months. Here are some tips to help you winterize your workplace effectively:

  1. Develop a Comprehensive Safety Plan: Safety plans are crucial for employee well-being and workers’ compensation but are also often mandated by OSHA and state regulations. Regardless of legal requirements, having a safety plan in place is a best practice for protecting both your employees and your business. If you need assistance creating one, consult resources like Cake’s “7 Easy Steps to Create an Office Safety Checklist” and OSHA’s “Winter Weather Preparedness” guide.
  2. Implement Weather Alert Notifications: If your company permits remote work, it’s essential to notify employees of office closures and severe weather conditions through automated communication channels such as emails, texts, and phone calls. For outdoor operations, consider suspending work during extreme conditions and take measures to minimize cold exposure, such as providing breaks and outdoor heaters.
  3. Prevent Slippery Surfaces: Address potential slippery areas promptly when snowstorms or freezing rain is expected. Take these steps to tackle slippery surfaces:
    • Apply salt or magnesium chloride on sidewalks, parking lots, entrances, and other outdoor areas.
    • Place mats at building entrances to prevent slippery floors.
    • Use caution signs to highlight wet and slippery areas.
    • Quickly mop up any water accumulation on office tiles or flooring. Remember that Colorado residents have 24 hours to shovel public sidewalks after snowfall to avoid fines.
  4. Decorate with Safety in Mind: While decorating for the holidays, prioritize safety to ensure a joyful yet secure workplace. Focus on fire safety by avoiding open flames, not piercing light strings with staples or nails, and verifying the functionality of fire safety equipment. Metallic Christmas trees are flammable and should not be adorned with lights. Maintain clear access to building emergency exits, use ladders and power cords with caution, and adhere to relevant OSHA regulations.
  5. Promote Safe Driving: Driving accidents are a leading cause of injury and death. Implement a driver safety program to reduce health risks for employees and protect your business. When hazardous weather conditions, encourage employees to work from home to prioritize their safety.
  6. Safe Space Heater Use: If you allow individual space heaters in your office, ensure they are used correctly and kept safely away from flammable materials. Emphasize the importance of unplugging heaters when not in use and never leaving them unattended.
  7. Prioritize Building Maintenance: Maintain your building’s optimal condition during winter by conducting routine maintenance and monitoring critical systems, such as plumbing and HVAC units. Proactive inspection and repair of indoor and outdoor insulation can help safeguard against unpredictable winter weather. Allowing faucets to drip can prevent frozen pipes during power outages and emergencies.

In Colorado and Utah, some safety regulations are state-mandated, with workers’ compensation insurance being a crucial requirement. If you need workers’ comp coverage for your business, Schomp Insurance offers you quotes for Colorado and Utah for all of your commercial needs. Protect your employees and your business this winter by taking these proactive steps to winterize your workplace.