In cold, wet, and sometimes stormy weather, tradespeople face particular seasonal risks. Follow our tips to stay safe and keep warm while you’re working in the winter.
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It’s not just the weather that brings different challenges for tradespeople in winter. There are shorter days and changes in workflow, with homeowners scrambling to get work completed 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
It can get bitterly cold, so don’t underestimate the risk of conditions like hypothermia when working outside for prolonged periods of time.
Look for affordable winter weather clothing, 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
With shorter days throughout the winter months, you may need to adjust your schedule to make the most of the daylight.
Once you factor in the shorter days and add 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. Plus, there might be more of a risk of trips, slips and other accidents in the darkness.
If you do work both inside and outside, try to complete as much of the outside work as you can before and after winter, and plan as much interior work as possible for the coldest months. You could also schedule indoor work for the earliest and later parts of your working day.
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
- Stop if it’s too dangerous to continue, particularly 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 insurance in place
Increased risks in winter mean that having the right 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 tradesperson’s 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. 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.
Making a claim
If you’re a Simply Business customer, our guide to making a claim will take you through the steps you need to take, including contact details for the Simply Business Claims Team and what to expect once you’ve made your claim.
If you need to speak to our Claims Team, you can call us 24/7 on 0333 207 0560.
How do you stay safe when you’re working in winter? Tell us in the comments.