There are times when workers leave lower elevations and drive into the mountains for business and find themselves unprepared. Snow, ice and extreme cold increase the chances of car crashes, worker falls and even frostbite as employees encounter snow accumulation or icy roads. When workers aren’t prepared for such conditions, they may drive too quickly and get into an accident or become stranded because they lack the proper equipment.
Employers may want to focus on educating workers about winter hazards before temperatures drop or snow begins to fall to avert an occupational injury or illness from occurring while workers are behind the wheel. It also may be beneficial to prepare company vehicles for winter weather.
Being safe while on the road
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers may want to inform workers about the three P’s of safe winter driving:
- Prepare for driving in the snow
- Protect yourself
- Prevent crashes
Employers may want to check the batteries in all company vehicles as well as windshield wipers and tire treads before allowing workers to use an automobile. OSHA also recommends employers fill car washer reservoirs with no-freeze fluids to prevent the windshield from freezing into ice while employees are driving and ensure antifreeze in all cars is at the optimal level. In addition, it may be a good idea for employers only to allow workers to use company vehicles for business trips.
Another way to keep workers safe on the road is to outfit cars with the appropriate emergency gear, such as flashlights, jumper cables, blankets and water. These items may come in handy if the car breaks down on the road or employees get into an accident. Workers may injure themselves trying to use shovels, ice scrapers or sand if they become stranded, however, so employers may want to provide emergency contact numbers and ask employees to stay within the vehicle. Drivers are encouraged to check current road and weather conditions before beginning a journey.