How to protect your staff in winter

Personal risks are one of the biggest risks in winter in Finland. Personal injuries can be caused, for example, by slips, falls, frostbite or other occupational accidents. Personal injuries can lead not only to human suffering, but also to claims for compensation, litigation, loss of reputation and loss of productivity. Therefore, it is important for organizations to do everything possible to prevent and reduce personal injury.

Tapani Toppi
Tapani Toppi 
Insurance Broker

Slips are unnecessarily common

Slips are the most common cause of personal injury in winter in Finland. They can cause serious injuries such as fractures, sprains, contusions or concussions. To prevent slips, it is good to take care of the following:

  • Sanding: Sand slippery areas such as stairs, ramps, parking lots, walkways and entrances early enough. The best sanding material is sand, gravel, salt or other anti-slip materials. Consider whether there are problem areas in your organization's premises that should even be heated from below. Keep gritting material readily available and make sure that gritting responsibilities are clear to staff.
  • Lighting: Provide adequate lighting outdoors so that slippery areas are clearly visible. Remember to maintain and check the lighting regularly, and replace broken and weak bulbs as soon as possible. If possible, adjust the lighting according to the time of day and the weather.
  • Walkways: Keep walkways as short, straight, unobstructed as possible, and mark them clearly. Regularly clean the routes of snow, ice and slush.
  • Snow removal: Remove snow from roofs, gutters, windows, doors, and other places where it can fall and cause damage. Do snow removal often enough and use suitable equipment and equipment. Also, be sure to follow the safety instructions. Personnel and customers must be notified of snow removal, for example by means of warning signs.

When it comes to your own plots and properties, it’s important to remember that in Finland the liability extends not only to your own staff but also to other individuals. According to the law on the maintenance and cleanliness of streets and certain public areas, the owner of the property is responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalk or access road leading to the plot, unless the municipality has taken responsibility for it.

Working outdoors is challenging in sub-zero temperatures

Working outdoors in sub-zero temperatures can cause personal injury, such as frostbite, hypothermia, colds or respiratory symptoms. People who work outdoors are also exposed to other risks, such as slips, falls, electric shocks and burns. If you have staff working outdoors in winter, take care of at least these things:

  • Apparel: Provide people who work outdoors with warm, windproof workwear that is suitable for both work and weather. Clothing should be loose enough not to interfere with blood circulation or movement, and reflective or bright to be visible in dim light or darkness. 
  • Equipment: Make sure people working outdoors have appropriate protective equipment such as goggles, earmuffs, respirators, helmets and seat belts. Make sure they have first aid equipment available at a reasonable distance. Keep your gear as clean, dry and in good condition as possible, as well as new and maintain it often enough. Instruct and supervise personnel in the use of equipment.
  • Breaks: People who work outdoors in freezing temperatures should take enough breaks so as not to overload and their temperature does not drop too much.  Make it possible to take breaks in a warm, dry and windless place with the opportunity to rest, drink and eat. The length and frequency of breaks are determined by the quality of work and the weather, and it is a good idea to agree on them in advance.

If you would like more information or help with risk management, please contact one of our experts using the form below. We’ll help you and your organisation to identify, assess and mitigate risks and prepare with insurance. We’ll find solutions that meet your organization's needs. 

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