As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, tradesmen face particular seasonal risks. Follow our tips to stay safe and keep warm while you’re working this winter.
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It’s not just the cold, wet weather that brings different challenges for tradesmen in winter, it’s also the changes in work flow, with homeowners scrambling to get work completed before Christmas and outdoor projects sometimes put on hold. So how do you get through the chilly months in the best way possible?
Get the right clothing
Look for affordable winter weather clothing in online sales, including waterproof jackets and trousers and good fleeces and thermals.
Make sure you’ve got sturdy boots with a good tread for wet or icy surfaces. You can still find high street cobblers if you’ve got an old pair of boots that could do with some repairs.
Also, remember to get high visibility vests if you’ll be working outside after dark, and think about a pair of anti-slip gloves so that you don’t lose your grip in the rain or snow.
Change your schedule
As the evenings close in, you may need to start earlier in the day to get all your work done before nightfall.
When you’re estimating timelines for jobs, remember to factor in the shorter days if you need daylight to work. Once you’ve added possible bad weather to the mix, it could take you much longer to complete projects than it would in the summer when days are long and the weather is mild.
If you do work both inside and outside, try to complete as much of the outside work as you can before winter really sets in, and plan as much interior work as possible for the coldest months.
Stop working if the weather’s really bad
When you’re keen to finish work before it gets dark, it can be tempting to keep working even when conditions are really bad.
If the weather is very wet or stormy, or you’re working on icy surfaces, keep assessing the risks, and stop if it’s too dangerous to continue, particular if you’re working at height or with dangerous equipment.
If you do decide it’s safe to keep working, continue slowly and carefully, and check that any electrical tools are safe for use in wet conditions.
Make sure you’ve got tradesman insurance in place
Increased risks in winter mean that having the right tradesman insurance policy in place is particularly important. If the worst does happen, your insurance can help you get your business up and running again.
Public liability insurance is central to any tradesman insurance policy. It can pay legal fees and compensation costs if your business is blamed for injury or damage. For example, you’re working on a roof in icy conditions when you slip and drop a tool, causing damage to your customer’s car, parked below. If your customer claims compensation, your public liability insurance could cover the cost.
There’s also tools insurance to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your tools if they’re lost, stolen or damaged, and other covers like employers’ liability insurance, buildings insurance and personal accident cover.
How do you stay safe when you’re working in winter? Tell us in the comments.