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The winter chill – the seasonal change affecting your business

(Last Updated On: May 17, 2016)

Winter is coming. Whilst some may be welcoming the cool change, others may be mourning the loss and begrudging the switch from singlets and shorts to jumpers and jeans. Either way, the change of season brings with it a few things employers should be aware of.

It is a fact that colder weather can cause an increase in absenteeism, potential tardiness, and for those working outdoors, increased health and safety concerns. Employers can however, plan for all the above by taking the time to prepare their business and staff.

Winter sickness

According to St John Ambulance Australia, colds and flus cost Australian companies more than $7 billion in lost time each year, equating to 1,500,000 days of work.

So what can you do to prevent the spread of illness within your workplace?

  • Develop a personal leave policy to include the requirement for a medical certificate for each day of illness and introduce return to work meetings. These requirements may deter those taking sickies while also giving you an opportunity to discuss any serious illnesses, ensuring your employees are fit for work
  • Ensure hygiene within the office is of the highest level to prevent the spread of illness. Provide tissues and hand sanitiser for employees to utilise as they see fit

Health and safety issues in the winter months

Apart from the associated spread of germs, the winter months can also have an impact on those working outdoors, or those who are exposed to the elements at any point within their working day. All this can present challenges to the way employers manage health and safety. We often associate wet weather with winter, and therefore we need to also be cautious as this can result in slippery surfaces causing hazards.

To overcome concerns, conduct a workplace inspection, make a list of the potential hazards and then consult with your employees to manage this as part of your hazard identification and risk assessment process.

Employsure can advise on the best ways to minimise the risks associated with winter in your workplace, so contact us today on 1300 651 415. Our specialist team can answer any questions you might have regarding absenteeism, return to work policies and workplace health and safety.

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