As bitterly cold weather moves in across many areas of North America, so does the need to evaluate your office’s safety.
Here are some simple actions you can take to ensure the safety and comfort of your team — and any visiting clients. As we’ll discuss, these include using a staircase chair, salting following snowfall and tuning up your HVAC system.
Clear Sidewalks and Stairs of Snow
If the sidewalk outside of your office is your responsibility, it’s of utmost importance that you salt the pedestrian walkway and any outdoor stairs in good time following snowfall.
It’s estimated that around one million Americans are injured as a result of a slip or fall on ice or snow. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approximate that around 17,000 of these falls are fatal.
Snow that’s left untended will compact, thaw, and refreeze, creating a dangerous situation of thick ice. Do your civic — and in some areas, legal — duty and make sure you have salt on hand. You may consider hiring a team to help, too.
Consider an Evacuation Chair
With an increase in slips, trips and falls in the winter, team members may suffer sprained ankles, pulled ligaments and fractures. Having an evacuation chair on hand will ensure the safe (and quick!) evacuation of all employees in instances of emergency, including:
- natural disaster,
- chemical leaks, and
- human threat.
An evacuation chair will boost your office’s safety plan year-round. They’re vital if you must quickly evacuate your team — employees with mobility issues, seniors and individuals who use mobility tools may struggle to descend stairs in a quick, safe manner. This is critical if your office does not have an elevator or in cases of a power outage when elevator systems may go down.
Maintain Your HVAC System
If your office is heated via an HVAC system, schedule a tune-up and clean from an HVAC technician. Your heating system is going to be working much harder during the winter months. By scheduling a professional tune-up, you’ll guarantee that it’s running effectively and it’s at full capacity, keeping your team comfortably warm.
By maintaining your HVAC system, you’re minimizing the chance of fire while boosting the quality of your office air, too.
Don’t Forget the Office Floors
With snowy weather comes wet shoes and wet floors. As we’ve discovered, slips and falls are common occurrences in the winter months.
Try to mitigate falls by placing mats at the front door for team members to clean their boots before they come inside. If you have a small team, you could always suggest team members change into ‘indoor’ office shoes at the front door.
Lastly, in high-traffic areas where wet hallways are a likelihood, put up ‘Slippery Floor’ signs as a visual reminder!
Offer Hand Sanitizer
With colder temperatures comes cold and flu season. Make sure sanitizers near doors and in the hallways are full and that soap dispensers in washrooms are topped up regularly. By implementing some office safety strategies in the winter, you’ll safeguard your team and your clients against personal injury. You’re also boosting team morale.