Inclement weather can pose serious dangers both to lorry drivers and warehouse employees. They must be prepared to handle the cold, rain, and snow. It is your responsibility as an employer to establish and communicate policies in the event of bad weather.
Adverse Driving Conditions
Your biggest concern should be the safety of your employees. Weather can threaten drivers’ safety on the road and put them in danger. Ensure they are properly trained and prepared to deal with any weather they may encounter.
Drivers should always be aware of upcoming conditions for the day. Offer them resources to check weather and road conditions regularly before beginning their shift. Before bad weather hits, all vehicles should be given a thorough safety inspection and should be equipped with emergency materials such as a snow scraper, blanket, first-aid kit, and torch. Drivers should also ensure that they are dressed for the cold and have the proper protection in case they are stranded.
Training Your Drivers
To protect your company against liability, employees should be trained in safe, cautious driving techniques in all types of weather and know what to do in case of an accident. Many companies fail to provide such training, leaving drivers ill-equipped and at risk.
Sometimes, the weather may be too severe to drive safely. It is essential to emphasise to drivers the importance of pulling off to the side of the road when visibility is limited. Your policies will dictate their behaviour – make sure you are flexible enough to adjust driving schedules around hazardous weather conditions.
Risks for Warehouse Workers
Warehouse employees and drivers performing loading and unloading tasks are also at risk during inclement weather. Ensure they dress for the weather and are prepared to handle these conditions – even if they only are exposed for short periods throughout the day. Exposure to extreme cold, precipitation, and wind can be dangerous to employees, even in small doses.
Cold Weather Safety
When exposed to cold, wet, or windy conditions, workers should take the following precautions:
Take breaks to get warm if exposed for extended periods.
Drink plenty of liquids but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Be aware of any cold weather-related side-effects of any medication they may be taking.
Know and understand the symptoms of cold-related illnesses and injuries.
Stretch before physical work to prevent muscle pulls and injuries.
Use personal protective equipment and wear protective clothing.
Be sure that you have a communication plan in place to speak with your employees about weather conditions. With your drivers, make it your policy to stay in close communication and advise them when considering driving in hazardous weather conditions. Plan for the worst potential outcome to ensure your business is ready and your employees stay safe.
Keith Griffin, Business Development Executive at Wright Insurance Brokers shares advice on how to prepare businesses for adverse weather conditions. For additional industry-specific guidance or fleet insurance solutions, talk to Keith on 0818 22 3000.
Wright Group Brokers Ltd t/a Wright Insurance Brokers, Wrightcover is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.