Why offices need to be prepared for the incoming cold front

Companies across the UK and Ireland are being urged to prepare offices ahead of the predicted icy conditions and snow, following weather warnings from the Met Office.

Office Depot is warning facilities and office managers to take action to avoid injuries that may happen in the snow and ice, advising businesses to make use of salt spreaders and hazard signs to prevent accidents from occurring within the workplace.

Recent research from a UK insurer found that, despite the fact that 66% of SMEs had lost revenue due to bad weather, just under half continued to have no winter preparation plan in place. With today’s weather forecast predicting the arrival of snow and treacherous ice, it leaves businesses at risk of workplace accidents increasing if not appropriately managed.

To support businesses in preparation of the weather, Office Depot has created a guide to help ensure workplace safety in the wintry conditions. George Hand, head of cleaning, hygiene and catering at Office Depot, said: “When cold weather hits and causes havoc, it is the responsibility of every employer to ensure that reasonable precautions are put in place to protect the safety of all employees. Therefore, every office should own the correct equipment designed to reduce the risk of injury when it’s icy, whether it’s snow shovels or high vis-clothing.

“The next 72 hours are crucial if we do experience this bad weather, and we urge managers to take a stock check to ensure businesses can run as usual. Cold weather conditions can lead to loss of revenue, damage to property and endangerment of employee safety, which is why it is in employers’ best interests to guard against this.”

There are a number of simple steps businesses can take to protect employee safety, according to the guide. Covering car parks with rock salt is a cost-effective way of keeping accidents at bay, as it restricts the formation of ice and offers both cars and pedestrians much-needed grip on slippery surfaces. Similarly, outdoor signage should be provided to alert staff of the hazardous conditions.

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As well as introducing items such as rock salts, shovels and hazard signs, businesses should also consider the safety measures of employees needing to travel for meetings or appointments. Car Essential kits, which include the likes of de-icer, a demister pad and a torch, ensures that all staff who require a car to travel for work are prepared. Providing a shovel for employees should also be considered, in case heavy snow hits while attending an external appointment.

George Hand, continues: “Businesses must ensure they have the processes in place to protect staff and avoid expensive supermarket alternatives. Working with a trusted supplier like Office Depot ensures businesses receive the most appropriate products for their needs at the best price.”

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