Fall represents change. For many, this means changing leaves, changing clocks and going back to school. In the workplace, the changing season presents opportunity for assessing workplace safety and preparing for the harsher weather to come.

Assessing Workplace Safety

Fall provides the perfect reminder for looking at current workplace safety and determining what works and what needs changing. While daily safety assessments likely already take place, a more large-scale assessment should take place, at least yearly.

At a bare minimum, consider the following when making a large-scale safety assessment:

  • Workplace layout – Are there any potential tripping, falling & slipping hazards needing taken care of? Could layout be adjusted to allow for increased efficiency as well as safety?
  • Workstations – Does work station layout reduce the potential for repetitive strain injuries? Have employees been consulted for ideas on improving work areas?
  • Environment – Consider temperature, lighting and ventilation. Are employees comfortable? Is lighting appropriate for reducing eye strain? Are there any ventilation problems?
  • Emergency procedures – Do employees know what to do in an emergency? Is all emergency equipment up-to-date and in good working order?
  • First aid – Do employees know where to find first aid equipment and how to use it? Are all first aid stations well-stocked?

Note that the tips above provide a very general approach to workplace safety assessment. Specific jobs and locations will require their own unique assessment checklist and process. Take time this Fall to consider these specific areas as part of you overall safety assessment.

In addition to using Fall as a reminder to perform overall safety assessments, let it also be a time to prepare the workplace for the quickly approaching winter weather.

Preparing the Workplace for Winter Weather

Preparing the workplace for winter weather begins with preparing its employees. Start by creating awareness of changing conditions on the workplace commute. Shorter days mean the sun can significantly impact the drive to and from work, so make sure employees understand the importance of sun protection not just for their eye health but for overall safety as well. Visibility can be a serious challenge during the commute, and promoting awareness of this can make sure employees have a safe commute.

In addition to promoting commuter safety, take time to prepare entrances and exits for the approaching harsher weather. This begins with clearing walkways of fallen, wet leaves, which can be slippery, and also making sure bushes are trimmed and sidewalks don’t have tripping hazards made more difficult to see when snow falls. In addition, shorter days mean more employees arriving in darkness, so make sure entrances and exits are well lit.

For many, Fall involves varying temperatures with more extreme temperatures on the way. Some employees may use space heaters during these seasons, and taking the time to make sure they are in good working condition as well as used properly is a good idea. In addition, assessing the state of a building’s heating system as well as making sure windows don’t have excessive drafts are all part of preparing the workplace for winter.

Many workplaces also have equipment used outdoors in cold weather. Fall presents the perfect time to make sure this equipment is in good working condition and ready for the extreme weather that can hit at any time. If contract providers are used (snow plowing for example) now is a good time to make sure services are lined up.

Taking time to prepare the workplace for changing weather not only makes it a safer place, but it also helps maintain and even improve employee morale.

Change is Inevitable

The only constant in life is change. Fortunately, we can use change as a reminder to assess current conditions and to prepare for what’s coming. Take time this Fall to look at your company’s current safety policies and to prepare the building and your employees for the inevitable change taking place. Doing so will not just create a more pleasant workplace but a safer one as well.