Adverse Weather


It happens each year, snow, ice, wind, rain and fog. But each year it comes as a
surprise with road traffic accidents and an increase in slips trips and falls in and
around the workplace. With care and forward planning these accidents can be
avoided. Being outside in adverse weather brings changed conditions that need
extra consideration.

Not so bad if you work in an office. Yes, you still have to drag yourself out of bed
in the cold dark mornings and brave the journey to work, but once you arrive you
can usually maintain a healthy and safe work environment.

Main points:

• Poor driving conditions, vehicle maintenance, loading/unloading and sheeting.
• Clothing and PPE requirements when working outside and on Site.
• Housekeeping and workplace maintenance.
• Poor lighting and obscured landscape.
• Working or walking outside in exposed places in high winds
• Personal Security

Vehicles & Driving:

• Check your vehicle before setting off, making sure tyre pressures are correct and that your
screen wash is topped up and your lights work.
• When driving, plan your journey: in adverse weather conditions it will take longer, don’t rush – keep a good distance from the vehicle in front.
• Loading and unloading including sheeting up in exposed places will be hazardous in icy and
windy conditions.

Working Outside or on Site:

• Always wear suitable clothing for the weather conditions.
• In the summer: keep exposed skin covered, when working at sewage treatment works
consider increase in insect activity and additional PPE requirements.
• In bad light, make yourself seen, wear a high-vis vest or jacket and stick to illuminated
pedestrian routes, snow covered areas all look the same, flat, concealing ruts and ditches.
• In high winds at exposed locations: consider the risk of being blown over or struck by flying
objects and the potential injuries. Take the necessary actions or avoidance to prevent
• Clean up spills, e.g. keep external steam clean and wash down area free of standing water, it
may freeze presenting a slipping hazard to others.

Personal Safety:

• Walking to and from work, and around customers’ premises out of daylight hours – keep to
well-lit pedestrian walkways.
• Consider the effects of sudden gusts of wind when working outside in exposed places.
• Let colleagues or friends and family know where you will be and when.

Discussion points

• Take regular breaks out of the cold and wind.
• Wear waterproof clothing as an outer layer and plenty of warm clothing layers underneath.
• Keep warm with long sleeved vests, long-johns, thermal underwear, etc.
• Ensure somewhere warm and dry to take refreshments and dry clothes is available
• Short breaks in the warm can help improve productivity.
• If you begin to feel cold deep inside, you may be developing hypothermia, refer to your
supervisor and take a short break in a warm place.
• Have a warm drink and snack during your breaks.
• Ensure there is adequate heating as a minimum in the rest area.
• Use scaffold sheeting and other barriers to shield the site and its workers from the wind and
• Warm gloves and socks are essential and if you can feel your hands and feet getting too cold,
change to a warm dry pair.
• Look after your skin, use protecting creams to replace the natural oils dried up by the cold
and prevent cracking and peeling.

Talk to Atlas about Safety Management for your business