The campaign aims to inform the public of what is being done in relation to winter preparations and where they can source valuable information that can assist them through a difficult weather event.
The campaign highlights the ‘Whole of Government’ approach being taken to winter preparations.
This year the Government plans to:
· Increase the supports of the Senior Alerts Scheme.
· Provide additional allowance to assist over 370K households
· Provide additional supports to rough sleepers
· Financial assistance to homes affected by flooding
· 258,000 tonnes of salt are available for the country’s roads
The campaign also offers advice for businesses, in the challenges they face during severe weather.
Be Business Ready for our Winter Weather
Employers are required to manage safety, health and welfare at work. This includes managing the workplace during our winter weather. The first step is to prepare a hazard identification and risk assessment, as required under the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.
When developing a winter ready hazard identification and risk assessment, businesses need to look at all potential weather conditions for example strong winds, heavy rain fall, snow and icy conditions, and determine how they could impact on the business.
· Is there a potential for flooding?
· Are all drains free from blockages?
· Are there slips trips and falls hazards from icy conditions, wet and decaying leaves
· Is the roof free from damage?
· Are there any trees close to the premises or carpark which could potentially fall during high winds?
· Are entry points liable to difficulties during snow and icy conditions?
· Are water pipes liable to burst or leak?
· Is there enough lighting around the area?
Having identified the hazards and assessed the risk, consider the control measures to be implemented.
· Ensure that the business has information and contact details regarding key services including local authorities.
· Review insurance cover and contact insurance advisors in relation to any concern your business may have.
· Talk to the local authority regarding any external flooding threats and what control measure can be taken to protect your premises from flooding.
· Ensure all drains are checked on a regular basis to ensure they are free from any obstructions
· Put procedures in place to clean away all wet and decaying leaves on a regular basis
· Consider slip resistant material for external paved areas.
· Discourage people from taking shortcuts which are likely to become slippery when wet.
· Consider fitting canopies over building entrances to help prevent slip accidents from rain water
· Install large, absorbent mats or even consider changing the entrance flooring to one which is non-slip.
· Ensure all roofs are free from damage and repair all defects noted.
· Carry out an assessment on all trees in and around your premises (May need to seek the assistance from a competent tree surgeon).
· Monitor the daily temperatures and keep on track of weather forecast. Act when freezing temperatures are forecast.
· Put a procedure in place to prevent icy surfaces forming; Use grit or salt on areas prone to be slippery in frosty, icy conditions.
· Divert pedestrians to less slippery walkways and barrier off existing ones.
· Place warning cones on hazard spots
· Check all pipes and ensure they are adequately insulated.
· Ensure the emergency evacuation plan considers the impact of severe weather and the potential need to evacuate.
· Consider the impact the severe weather conditions may have on the evacuation process.
Employees driving for work
When developing your winter ready risk assessment, as an employer you need to consider your employees who travel for work.
- Ensure your driving for work policy takes into consideration severe weather conditions.
- Ensure the business has up-to-date employee contact details and a communications plan.
- In severe weather conditions, consider if site visits can be rescheduled until weather conditions improve. Could public transport be used?
- Ensure your employees have a high-visibility jacket, flash light, first aid kit, hazard warning triangle, a scraper and de icer, shovel, portable fire extinguisher, boots or wellingtons, extra clothing or a blanket and a flask, (in case they do get stuck or must abandon the car)
- Ensure your employees are trained to carry out daily checks on their vehicles. Checking tyres pressure, tread depth (minimum 1.6mm) and condition. Ensure employees record the daily checks. See H.S.A TV on You tube for information and guidance. Vehicle daily Checks, Van Daily Safety Checks
- Inform your employees to clear all windows, lights, indicators, number plates and the roof of the car from snow. Snow left on the roof will become loose and can drop onto the windscreen during braking, causing sudden and severe restriction to your vision.
- Consider alternative work practices for the duration of the severe weather to ensure the safety of your employees and to ensure business continuity e.g. teleworking, shift-work.
- Provide all employees with winter ready advice on vehicle maintenance and on driving during severe weather conditions.
The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Forfás have prepared a practical checklist for the business sector which outline key issues to address as part of business continuity planning for, and in response to, severe weather events.
The checklist is available in the document Business Continuity Planning in Severe Weather
For more information go to:
Elisha Kelly, OHS Executive, Ibec Knowledge Centre
Thursday, 29 November 2018