ACT employers urged to make safety a priority this winter

winter

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Employers in the ACT are being reminded to make safety a priority and check for risks associated with the colder temperatures this winter.

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones said the risk of slips, trips and falls increase across work sites during cold weather.

“Construction and outdoor trades are some of the biggest sectors impacted by the cold weather but other sectors including retail, business, and hospitality can also see injury increases from wet and slippery floors and surfaces,” he said.

“Injuries caused by slips and falls can be significant and can lead to work-ending injuries, such as chronic back and joint injuries to significant head injuries. However, the good news is that injuries from slips, trips, and falls are preventable.

“Employers and workers can do simple things like wiping up spills as soon as they occur, wiping muddy boots or shoes before going indoors or climbing scaffold and putting non-slip and absorbent mats at entry points in the retail sector so customers leave any wet footprints at the door and not across a premise.

Mr. Jones said outdoor workers including those working at heights were a particular risk during the colder weather and employers should be vigilant when it came to safety.

“Employers should ensure that cold weather safety forms a key part of tool box or safety talks with reminders to workers on avoiding frosty, wet and muddy surfaces,” he said.

“It is important that workers wear appropriate protective clothing – including boots with solid grip and supportive soles, gloves which have grip, high visibility clothing (especially important when it is foggy), beanies and water-proof clothing.

“Employers should also look to move work tasks which require high visibility or working at heights to later in the day when the fog lifts and surfaces are not frosty. Other suggestions for improving thermal comfort of workers include:

  • providing adequate workplace heating such as portable heaters where needed
  • minimising exposure to cold areas, wet work, and cold products where possible
  • installing insulating floor coverings (such as mats) or special footwear when workers must stand for long periods on cold floors
  • rotate workers and tasks so they are not exposed to cold temperatures for extended periods
  • allowing sufficient breaks so workers can access hot drinks or warm up in heated areas.

The video ‘Work safe in cold weather’ has useful tips for the construction sector https://vimeo.com/222304173

“Let’s work together to address any cold weather risks and make our workplaces healthier and safer,” Mr. Jones concluded.

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