Business owners juggle many responsibilities, including a few related to the weather. Warm summer months and cool fall breezes are so pleasant, they could cause some people to forget how winter changes the game.
It only takes a few minutes of prep to put winter safety strategies in place. See which ideas will help your business the most so you can ensure a safe and enjoyable winter every year.
1. Send Weather Update Emails
Keep an eye on morning weather reports and updated forecasts throughout the day. When meteorologists predict an increased chance for winter storms or icy rain, send an alert email to all your employees. They may watch the forecast along with you, but it’s safer to remind them about the latest updates.
2. Plan for Adjusted Hours
Sometimes employees will need to swap shifts or stay home altogether because of winter weather. Retailers should prepare for shift coverage flexibility or create remote work opportunities so everyone still receives a paycheck. Check in with team members when shift swaps get tricky so you can troubleshoot issues while everyone remains safe.
3. Salt Your Sidewalks
Salting your sidewalks is one of the best winter safety tips for retailers. Slipping and falling causes one-third of preventable injuries and fatalities during cold-weather seasons. Assign a few team members to prepare your sidewalks before the next winter storm.
This simple step prevents ice from forming so no one falls on their way into work. You can also lay mats over stubborn icy spots in shady areas.
4. Install Outdoor Heaters
Retailers can install outdoor heaters to keep employees who spend time outside warm. Hours spent in freezing winds will slow blood flow and trigger poor circulation symptoms, like numb fingers and toes. Some team members may be more sensitive to cold temperatures than others, making outdoor heaters and even indoor space heaters critical.
5. Rotate Employee Duties
Even if they’re not outside, some people may still feel too cold to work comfortably. Rotate employee duties frequently so everyone has a chance to warm up. Allow door holders to work as cashiers for part of their shift, or switch curbside pickup team members with inventory stockers. Retailers can also remind employees to request a swap whenever they feel too chilled.
6. Remember Your Building
Winter weather sneaks inside plumbing and freezes pipes overnight. The frozen metal and water creates internal pressure that bursts pipes and floods businesses. When overnight temperatures drop below freezing, turn on every faucet so they drip until morning. The slow water movement prevents it from solidifying.
Retailers should also get their HVAC system checked by a professional before winter and summer. The extreme temperature changes could cause maintenance issues or break your unit. A professional will spot potential problems so you don’t have to pay for an expensive repair or replacement when it breaks.
7. Post Safety Tips
Assuming that team members know how to stay safe during winter only creates opportunities for injuries or accidents. Post safety tips around the workspace to remind everyone how to protect themselves. Closing shift members should unplug space heaters before locking the front door. Other employees can layer provided business jackets or coats and wear slip-resistant shoes when working outdoors.
A few reminders posted in back rooms or bathrooms could save someone from painful cold-weather blunders. Laminate any reminders to make them last through the winter, even if exposed to rain or snow.
Consider Your Typical Winter Weather
Use these winter safety tips to make your business a safer place for every team member this year. They’ll prevent accidents and prepare everyone for your typical winter weather. Depending on the amount of snow and ice you usually deal with, you can mitigate risks so everyone’s safer when they clock in for their next shift.
Credit: Devin Partida is a retail writer and blogger. You can read more posts from Devin at ReHack.com, where she is the Editor-in-Chief.