When winter comes it brings a whole new set of challenges and hazards in the workplace. Often there are setbacks on meeting deadlines due to the cold weather but it should never be an excuse for having safe workplace. Driving accidents is one of the major causes of injury and death in the United States. All employees should be trained on the dangers of driving in cold conditions and how to handle dangerous situations.
Although the condition of roads are not controlled by the employer, they can encourage and promote safe driving. Train employees on Motor Vehicle Safety. Employees should inspect their vehicles for the following:
- Brakes - Brakes should provide even and balanced braking. Also check that brake fluid is at the proper level.
- Cooling System - Ensure a proper mixture of 50/50 antifreeze and water in the cooling system at the proper level.
- Oil - Check that oil is at proper level.
- Electrical System - Check the ignition system and make sure that the battery is fully charged and that the connections are clean.
- Engine - Inspect all engine systems. If a check engine light is turned on, take care of the issue immediately.
- Exhaust System - Check exhaust for leaks and that all clamps and hangers are snug.
- Tires - Check for proper tread depth and no signs of damage or uneven wear. Check for proper tire inflation.
- Visibility Systems - Inspect all exterior lights, defrosters (windshield and rear window), and wipers. Install winter windshield wipers.
Along with inspecting the vehicle, it is good idea to include an emergency kit with the following items:
- Cell phone or two way radio
- Ice scraper/snow brush
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Tow chain or rope
- Sand or cat litter for traction
- Jumper cables
- Non-perishable snacks
- Maps of the area
If your vehicle becomes stranded in cold conditions, stay in the car unless emergency services can be seen within 100 yards. Call for assistance and notify your supervisor or coworkers. Weather.com provides additional instructions on what to do when you are stuck in a snowstorm.
Stay safe by being well informed.