How to Prepare Your Workers for Winter Driving
At the risk of digging up old Games of Thrones memes, the fact is that winter is coming. And if you have employees who drive for work, you don’t just have an ethical responsibility to prepare them for winter driving, you have a legal responsibility. This is true whether employees are driving company vehicles or whether they are driving their own vehicles.
Every Canadian knows that the winter months are the riskiest months for driving as freezing rain, snow, ice and fog pose hazards to traction and visibility. And yet that doesn’t change that fact, that we tend to see a lot of accidents as soon as we have that first real winter storm.
How can you as an employer help keep your employees safe this winter?
Here are a few ideas.
Have an Inclement Weather Policy
Severe winter storms can make it hazardous just to come in to work, but in companies without a formal inclement weather policy, employees may feel obligated to come in anyway – putting themselves at risk. With a formal policy, you can communicate ahead of time what conditions would warrant a closure, such as a certain amount of snowfall, travel warnings, or if there are other closures such as schools or government offices.
The policy should also include who will make the final decision, and how that decision will be communicated to employees (website notice, text to employees, etc.).
Note that in some circumstances, you may have some employees who do not feel comfortable driving in bad weather even if the conditions do not warrant a closure under your Inclement Weather Policy. In these cases, you may want to consider if working from home is an option.
Prepare Company Vehicles
If your business utilizes company vehicles, it is your responsibility to ensure that these vehicles are in good working order and ready for winter conditions. This can include:
- Having a pre-winter maintenance inspection and making any necessary repairs.
- Ensuring each vehicle has four matching winter tires (Once the temperature drops below 7 C, winter tires perform better than all season tires regardless of whether the roads are wet, dry, or icy).
- Changing wiper blades and ensuring windshield washer reservoir is full.
- Ensure all vehicles have working heaters and defrosters.
Provide Safe Winter Driving Tips
Finally, whether your employees are driving company vehicles or their own vehicles – whether they are driving for work or merely to and from work, communicating driving safety tips can serve as an important reminder to take extra care during the winter months. These tips can include:
- Ensuring their vehicles are ready for winter (see tips for company vehicles).
- Fully removing ice and snow from windshield, hood, headlights, and roof of vehicle before driving.
- Allowing for extra time and not driving faster than conditions permit.
- Keeping a winter emergency kit inside the vehicle (blankets, extra clothing, jumper cables, flashlight, shovel and traction mat, etc.)
Contact TeksMed Today
Winter driving can be hazardous but there is a lot you can do now to start preparing your employees to keep them safe in the coming months. When a worker gets injured while they are driving for the purposes of the business, there is often confusion regarding where to file a claim – through public or private auto insurance, or through the workers’ compensation board. Let the experts at TeksMed help you navigate these treacherous roads – contact us today.