Working in cold conditions without the necessary safety regulations and protective equipment can be severely hazardous to health. Non-compliance can result in injuries and even fatalities if not properly managed.
Business owners and health & safety managers have a responsibility to protect their cold store teams’ welfare, so in this blog, we look at some simple ways to avoid hazards in the workplace.
Cut your risks at work
Risk assessments should be carried out regularly to ensure that the cold store environment is kept clean, tidy and safe. Vital checks include making sure floors are in good condition, that any obstacles or spills are cleared quickly, and that work areas are clutter-free to prevent trips, slips and falls.
Lighting should be checked for full visibility in all work areas and walkways should be clearly marked, with mirrors strategically placed in blind spots to prevent vehicle collisions or accidents. Cold stores should have internal opening doors and emergency panic alarms to prevent entrapment.
Train your team
Perhaps one of the most important aspects to consider is team training. Whilst employers are required to look after their teams’ health, safety and welfare, employees also have a personal responsibility to stay safe at work.
Training can include workplace procedures, first aid, what to do in an emergency and specifically for those working in the cold, employees need to know symptoms of issues like cold stress, frostbite and hyperthermia.
Working in the cold carries a unique set of challenges that can affect some existing health issues so health assessments should always be carried out. Specific health issues to consider include asthma or other respiratory conditions due to freezer air being very dry, plus cardiovascular and circulatory conditions such as Raynaud’s disease may also need special consideration.
Other aspects employees should consider during work are staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet, and to be aware that smoking and drinking alcohol can affect the body’s ability to regulate and conserve heat and can affect the circulation system.
PPE: Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes jackets and salopettes, thermal gloves, hats and socks, thermal undergarments and safety boots for work. In below-freezing conditions, specially designed workwear must be warm, lightweight, flexible and breathable, as well as conforming to specific European Standards.
The vital certification for clothing to be worn between -5°C and -50°C is known as EN342. It specifies the requirements and test methods for garments and clothing combinations designed to protect those working in a cold environment. Business owners must ensure that their teams’ clothing meets these legal standards or may face legal issues in case of illness or injury.
Need more information?
For further advice on keeping your cold store team safe at work, simply give our team a call on 01692 400300. You can find out more about workwear clothing certification here or download The Complete Coldstore Clothing Guide.
We’re here to solve your workplace challenges – simply get in touch.
Looking for Cold Store clothing?
FlexiTog has years’ of expertise developing game-changing workwear that uses the latest innovations in fabric and design. Working closely with cold store companies and premium sportswear brands, our collections are the number one choice in the UK and Europe.
Unrivalled in quality and certified to EN standards, our collections comply with the necessary PPE Health and Safety regulations to ensure safety and comfort for your team. Comfort is especially important as this can help to boost productivity allowing the wearer to move more quickly and safely.