Winter Readiness

Winter Readiness

As the long evenings start to set in and the winter season begins, so does the prospect of severe weather occurrences. Whether you are an employer or employee, it’s important to be aware and prepared during this time, as the number of potential risks and hazards that can occur in your workplace increases. 

For employers, your first step in winter preparations should be a thorough risk assessment – including indoor and outdoor areas. Both can be prone to weather related hazards, and many areas can become slip, trip or fall hazards during this time of year. 


Weather Warnings 

Make yourself familiar with the various weather warnings and alerts, so that when Met Éireann issues a warning you will be prepared. The most common alerts are: 

  • Status Yellow: While this weather does not necessarily pose a threat to the general population, it can be dangerous at a local level and you should be aware of your surroundings and potential threats..
  • Status Orange: These conditions may pose a threat to life and property, and you should prepare according to your location and situation. Outdoor activities should be delayed or cancelled if appropriate.
  • Status Red: These warnings are rare and very dangerous, with severe weather expected. You need to take action to protect yourself, your employees and your property. Follow all instructions issued by authorities and prepare for the unexpected.

You can learn more about the Severe Weather Chart at



There are a number of things you need to consider when preparing your business for severe weather: 

Impact on your place of business

  • How can various weather scenarios affect the place of work? Is the location prone to flooding, are access points liable to difficulties such as ice, and are water pipes insulated correctly?
  • In the event of extreme weather, you should have all information and contact details for key services and local authorities captured. 
  • And before the winter really sets in, it is advisable to review your insurance cover and discuss any concerns with your advisors. 


Impact on employees 

  • How will your business operations be impacted? Have you considered an event where employees may be unable to attend their place at work?
  • To ensure business continuity, ensure you have up to date employee contact details and a communications plan in place in the event of an emergency
    • You may need to consider implementing shift work or remote working, and how HR practices in your business can cater for this
  • Management responsibility should be clearly assigned for the necessary planning and preparations, and it is advisable to identify any business critical roles
  • For all situations, you should be considering measures that need to be taken to ensure your employees can work safely while at their place of work

Cold Weather Hazards and Tips

There are a number of hazards you need to be aware of that are specific to cold weather. These include: unsafe driving conditions, slip and fall injuries, structural stress and damage, fire activity, power outages, cold-exposure, or delays due to school and road closures. 

To help keep your employees out of harm’s way, there are some simple steps you should consider:

  • Monitor emerging weather conditions and associated threats;
  • Consider whether conditions are suitable for outdoor work; 
  • Communicate your plans to employees. They will need to know about remote working, how power outages may affect their work, who their emergency contact is, any changes to working hours or shifts, and from whom or where they can find relevant updates; 
  • In the case of extreme weather, consider where remote working may be more safe for employees;
  • Ensure your workplace is made safe based on your recent risk assessment. 



The key to staying safe is being well prepared and aware of your surroundings and situation. There are a number of items that should be on your winter workplace checklist, including gritting, preparing a winter readiness plan, heating, ventilation and roofing. 

You can read more about preparing Your Winter Workplace Checklist in this useful guide.


If you would like a personal consultation regarding preparing your workplace for the winter, or any other health and safety concerns, feel free to get in touch with our team on, or phone 01 838 5595 or 021 421 0331.

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