Planning for Inclement Weather
With weather alerts notified this week and other possible weather warnings over the next few days, companies are advised to review their inclement weather policies and health and safety risk assessments. Consultation with staff in preparation for possible interruptions to the operations of their businesses is advised.
Be Winter-Ready 2022-2023 has been prepared as part of the Government of Ireland initiative to assist households and businesses in preparing for cold weather and is still relevant and is available on https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/aa78b9-be-winter-ready/
Health and Safety
Prevention and protection (controls) must be adequate to protect employees working in inclement weather and low temperatures.
Visibility of the worker may be diminished as light levels are low in inclement weather. It is therefore important that all workers are visible at all times in the workplace (both indoors and outdoors). The use of High Vis Clothing is advised. Learn more at https://www.hsa.ie/eng/publications_and_forms/publications/work_related_vehicles/high_visibility_clothing_for_use_around_moving_vehicles.pdf
A series of publications that can help you prepare the unique hazards presented by the harsh weather is available from the Health and Safety Authority at
Employers should consider updating or implementing an ‘Inclement Weather and Disruption of Transport Policy’ and circulating it to employees in affected areas for information.
Where employees have the potential to work from home they should be encouraged to do so in snowy and icy weather. For employees that are working from home, it is important to note that severe weather may also give rise to communications disruptions.
For employments where attendance at the workplace is required, it is prudent to plan for situations where employees are unable to attend work, or where organisations do not have work available, due to circumstances outside of their control. Employees should be informed of the components of this plan that may impact on them in advance. Ideally the ‘Inclement Weather and Disruption of Transport Policy’ will outline processes and procedures associated with such an event and will have been made available to the employees.
The company’s approach and planned response should be clarified to employees as early as possible after people are put on notice of the forecast of an extreme weather event and the planned response. It is critical that managers are urgently informed of the organisation’s position, to ensure consistency across the business. It is imperative to be aware of any custom and practice in the organisation or contractual clause, which may override this organisation position.
Organisations may need to examine situations where employees make an effort to come into work and are delayed or have to leave early in order to avail of limited public transport, or where weather conditions deteriorate during the working day. Where a site is no longer accessible employers need to consider the way to communicate this to employees.
For further assistance, please see our guidance on inclement weather or please contact us to discuss in our knowledge centre on (01) 6051542 or email
Access up to date information from the Irish Meteorological Service
Additional Information is available on
Hi-Vis clothing for use around moving vehicles