Employer’s ‘duty of care’ for working in cold weather

When working for an employer, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that working conditions are safe and secure for employees. This is particularly important if the job entails working outside, and especially so in cold weather conditions. Official Health and Safety regulations dictate that employers must provide a ‘duty of care’ towards their staff, including providing adequate protective clothing and equipment. All steps must be taken to protect workers from carrying out duties in inclement weather, and thorough training must be provided if equipment is involved.

Working in cold weather must be ‘risk assessed’

When carrying out outside work, bad weather and extreme conditions must be ‘risk assessed’ and work postponed if at all possible. When considering weather conditions the impact of snow and ice must be assessed, and, of course, the wind chill factor.

If work must be carried out outside it is the responsibility of the employer to provide robust protective clothing and equipment, and shelter, such as a Portakabin, should be provided to allow staff to have frequent breaks. Hot drinks should be available, as well as adequate toilet facilities.

It is important that the signs of hypothermia are recognised, and that outdoor workers are not developing chilblains, trench-foot and frostbite. The body’s extremities, such as nose, ears, fingers, and toes, are particularly susceptible to freezing when blood is not being drawn up to heat them. It is critical that thorough consideration be given to all aspects of the effects of cold weather on employees before it is carried out.

If Negligent Oversight has Caused You Harm, Call Us.

Should your employer have failed in their duties to protect you whilst working in cold weather or extreme outdoor conditions, and it caused you a personal injury, call us. We can help you claim compensation, for your pain and suffering, and we can do so on a no win, no fee* basis. Contact us on 0800 083 8358^ to speak to a friendly expert today. 

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