As the UK braces for the arrival of Storm Dennis, employers face added pressure to ensure that their car park is deemed safe for staff during the icy conditions.
Statistics show slipping and tripping to be the single most common cause of major injury, totaling 40% of all reported injuries in UK workplaces. However, businesses are failing to ensure that private car parks are safe for employees to use during the winter months, despite the potential cost of a ‘slip up’.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers are required to ensure the health and safety of all employees and anyone who may be affected by their work, so far as is reasonably practicable. This includes taking steps to control slip and trip risks on company property – including car parks.
Although a rare occurrence in the UK, snow and ice pose a threat to businesses and their employees across the nation. A plan of action can be the difference between remaining operational, and ensuring exposure to slips and trips is minimised.
Employers can take the following steps to reduce the risk of an accident:
Conduct a risk assessment. Whilst employers may already be taking steps to protect employees, a risk assessment will tell them whether they should be doing more and decide what suitable and effective measures will prevent these types of accidents.
Take a look at Health and Safety Executive’s hazard spotting checklist for more information.
Put a clear strategy in place before the winter weather hits. This strategy will outline roles and responsibilities of people within the business to make the car park safe for employees before they get to work.
Communicate to employees the steps they must take in order to get into the premises safely, including suitable footwear, the safest routes to take across the car park and out of bounds areas.
When the winter weather hits, employers must clear pathways to the work premises, car parks and ensure that access points are safe. Gritting car parks is also seen as an important measure to take to prevent slippage in the workplace.
However, businesses must not take grit from council grit bins for private property and instead, must ensure they have on-site grit bins or gritting services in place.
Take a look at Broxap’s grit bin guide for more information about gritting car parks.
By conducting a risk assessment and taking reasonable measures to prevent accidents on their premises, such as gritting surfaces, businesses are ensuring that they remain compliant with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.