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It's your responsibility to protect your employees from the elements, especially at this cold time of year

by , 23 June 2014
Part of your responsibility as an employer under the OHS Act, is to protect your employees from the elements. We're talking about the weather and environmental factors that can affect them.

So if your employees work outside, the heat, cold, rain and wind will affect them. You need to provide them with protection from these elements. This protection could be in the form of protective clothing, shelter or just something to warm them up. This is especially true during this cold time of year.

But how are you supposed to protect your employees from these elements?

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Protect your employees from the elements and comply with OHS regulations

The two elements you need to focus on the most are extreme heat and cold. These can affect your employees faster than any other elements. So let's look at how you can do this...

Health and safety protection against cold weather

LabourLawyers.com says, as a safety precaution you give your employees OHS training to recognise the signs of overexposure to the cold. 
These include extreme shivering, slurred speech and clumsy movements. 
They say you must also provide your employees with proper safety wear that'll keep them warm. And you must encourage them to wear their protective clothing whenever they're outside.

This protective wear should include gloves, boots and jackets with thermal layers which trap the heat inside.
But what can you do to protect your employees in hot weather?
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Take this quick quiz to find out if you can handle the DoL hot seat
Which risk assessments have to be checked by an approved inspector every two years?
Is it absolutely necessary for your company to appoint and train someone as a risk assessor?
When was the last time you did a risk assessment? (Is that too long?)
Have you checked and double checked the less obvious health hazards?
If you can't answer even one of these questions you're not only putting your employee's lives at risk; you're also putting yourself in danger of massive fine from the DoL.
Don't wait until it's too late.

Health and safety protection against hot weather

B2BInsights.com says heat causes just as many workplace hazards as the cold. It says you must encourage your employees to drink water every 15 minutes, even if they're not thirsty.
So ensure your employees always have access to clean, cold, drinking water as well as shade. You must let them take regular breaks so they don't get heat stroke. 

You should also provide different warm weather protective clothing, that's made of lighter fabrics and won't over heat your employees.
With these summer safety and winter safety tips, you'll be able to keep your employees safe and healthy no matter what the weather's like. 

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