When the bad weather hits and you are looking at ways to protect your nursery and staff avoiding slips & trips is vital. As always, it is best to prepare policies and procedures in advance which include the completion of risk assessments, as following an accident the insurers’ decision regarding whether the nursery is liable can often revolve around the quality of documentation available after the event. Take some time now to ensure you have all the appropriate paper work, policies and procedures.
Everyone is aware that poor weather conditions will arrive at some stage in the year, therefore, a nursery has a duty to assess and manage this foreseeable risk. (The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is specific in that, amongst other things, you have a duty of care to provide a safe place of work for your employees and others including safe access to and exit from it).
Areas to consider are:
- Pathways & Carparks – Snow and ice can descend unexpectedly overnight and you need to have decided what must happen when the first person arrives on site.
- Pathways can be gritted if it is safe to do so, but a procedure must be in place that everyone understands. Sometimes, it is impractical to remove snow and ice from every path and road, so identify and address the essential routes. These need to be communicated to visitors and staff by way of signs and barriers.
- Winter gritting of car parks and paths can be time-consuming, so sufficient staff should be allocated to the task. Ensure they are trained or allocate resource for external contractors if this is more cost-effective.
- If you share car parks or paths with other companies, make sure you agree the boundaries. Partly gritting your neighbouring property can create an impression that these areas have all been made safe and you could be implicated in creating a greater risk.
- Outdoor Lighting
- Is there is enough lighting around your workplace for you and your workers to be able to see and avoid hazards that might be on the ground?
- Outdoor play
- The outdoor play areas need to be assessed on a daily basis to take into account the change in weather conditions.
- Staff footwear
- Staff must be advised to wear suitable footwear and although this may seem obvious, we can assure you that claims have been won or lost because of the type of shoes an employee decided to wear. Did you know there is a GRIP rating for shoes? You can find out more here.