Winter Safety Topics to Cover at Your Next Meeting
snow shovel in a snow bank

As the weather grows colder and the trees shed their leaves, many of us may find ourselves getting excited for winter. The holidays are approaching, and you may have visions of hot chocolate, evenings by the fire, time spent with family and friends, and fun in the snow.

But did you know winter can actually be a dangerous time for your employees, both mentally and physically?

Hosting a winter safety meeting can help your employees stay safe and healthy even as the days get colder. Read on to discover some of the best winter safety tips you need to give at this year’s presentation.

Driving in Cold Weather 

Whether or not your employees drive for work, driving is an important part of their daily lives. You want to make sure your employees stay safe and healthy in and out of the workplace, including in their cars. This means safe winter driving should be one of the first items on your winter safety meeting agenda.

If you live someplace where it snows and ices, chances are your employees already know how to handle these conditions on the road, so that may only require some brief review. But let them know they should let their car warm up before driving to make sure their engine runs smoothly.

Also, go over a basic emergency kit they should keep in their car in case they get stranded. 

Keeping Sidewalks and Parking Lots Safe

Once your employees arrive at the workplace, icy parking lots and sidewalks can pose a danger for falls. Advise your employees to keep their hands out of their pockets as they walk in, wearing mittens or gloves instead. This can help them catch themselves in the event of a fall, reducing injury.

Your business should also take steps to ensure your sidewalks and parking lots are as safe as possible. Salt the parking lot to keep things from getting too icy, and spread kitty litter on the sidewalks. This can provide some additional traction to keep people from sliding around. 

Handling Downed Power Lines

Sometimes, severe winter weather can bring down power lines, sometimes leaving them lying across roads. Your employees need to know how to safely navigate these dangers and get to work safely.

First and foremost, make sure that your employees know they should never put themselves at risk to get to work on time; it’s much better for them to be a few minutes late than to be your late employee.

If someone encounters a downed power line, the first thing they should do is back away from it and find another route. Even if a line doesn’t “look” live, you should never drive over the top of it. Second, instruct your employees to call the local fire department, police, or electric department and report the downed line. 

Avoiding Injuries in Colder Weather

If your business operations involve manual labor, it’s important to brief your employees on how to prevent injuries during the winter months. Your employees may not realize they’re more vulnerable to injury when the weather is cold. For one thing, cold muscles are more likely to become strained or tear than warmer muscles.

Your employees should always start with a few light stretches and warm-ups before beginning any physical labor in the winter. They can jog in place to get their heart rates up or do a few jumping jacks. Your team leaders may even want to lead these exercises before work begins each morning. 

Managing Biological Clocks 

Not all wintertime workplace injuries are the result of cold muscles or slippery ice. When we set our clocks back, most of us find ourselves getting off work long after the sun has set. This can disrupt our circadian rhythms, which leaves your employees groggy, distracted, and at higher risk of making dangerous mistakes.

Advise your employees to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. They may also want to avoid drinking alcohol too close to bed, as this can disrupt sleep patterns. And it’s always a good idea to practice good sleep hygiene by avoiding watching TV, reading, or looking at your phone in bed.

Resolving Personal Conflicts 

Your winter safety meeting topics shouldn’t only be limited to physical safety—it should cover emotional safety, too. And for many, wintertime and the holidays can be emotionally difficult. Tempers may run high, conflicts may break out in the workplace, and stress levels may rise.

Let your employees know about resources where they can get help if they’re struggling emotionally. This may include everything from company-provided counseling services to suicide hotlines. It’s also a good idea to have designated mediators who can help resolve interpersonal conflicts between employees.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (known aptly by the acronym SAD) can have a serious impact on your employees’ mental and emotional health. As the name suggests, this condition tends to strike more during the winter months and can cause increased anxiety or depression. Your employees may find themselves sleeping more, withdrawing from those around them, or losing interest in activities they normally enjoy. 

Be sure to educate your employees about SAD during your safety briefing. Let them know what symptoms to look out for and how they can help reduce these issues. Often tools like daylight lamps and regular exercise can help to combat SAD.

Discover More Winter Safety Tips

During the winter, your employees may be at higher risk of physical injury or mental strain. Giving them winter safety tips can make sure your company stays a happier and healthier place throughout the holidays. Not only will this improve your productivity, but it will also make your business a better place to work. 

If you’d like to keep your workplace safe all year round, check out the rest of our site at KHA Online SDS. We can help you reduce risk, increase workplace safety, assure regulatory compliance, and save time. Contact us today and discover how we’ve been powering safer workplaces since 1985.