Winter is coming, and this year that means something entirely new for many Colorado restaurants and retailers, which have expanded their outdoor operations to help control the spread of COVID-19.
Most want to continue conducting business outside as long as possible. Limited space indoors can make social distancing difficult. But increased outdoor time also means winter hazards may become a greater concern for employers.
You can begin taking steps now to prepare your restaurant or retail site and workers for the months ahead.
Of course, continuing to wear masks and practice social distancing remains a must no matter what the time of year.
More time outside means more chances to slip, trip and fall on icy or snow-covered walkways.
Restaurant workers carrying trays or retail workers pushing racks of clothing may be particularly vulnerable to this hazard if they can’t see ahead of them.
This includes sidewalks and curbs, several times each day.
Many work environments may have changed with COVID-19 restrictions. Encourage workers to look around and take small steps.
Your workers may not have had to think about insulated, slip-resistant winter footwear in the past, but they might now in order to navigate work performed outside.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recently issued updated guidance on how to host customers outdoors as temperatures drop, outlining acceptable pop-ups and temporary structures.
Outdoor spaces should have enough space and ventilation to encourage droplets and aerosols that may contain the COVID-19 virus to move out.
To be considered an outdoor space, structures must have only one or two walls (fabric sheets and tarps count as walls) or be a single-party structure.
Colorado has many beautiful days, but winters can present a challenge for outdoor dining and retail. When adding outdoor tents and temporary heating to your business, consider additional precautions.
Protect your outdoor winter workers and patrons by:
While many retail and restaurant workers weren’t required to drive as part of their job before COVID-19, an increase in contactless delivery services has nudged more employees behind the wheel.
Supplies could include spare warm clothes, jumper cables, a flashlight, additional windshield wiper fluid, an ice scraper and a small shovel.
Check out our driving safety resources for more tips.
Staying outside on a job site when it’s cold; running back and forth between a warm kitchen and a freezing outdoor patio can lead to cold stress, resulting in a drop in body temperature and therefore job performance levels.
This winter may prove challenging, but by mitigating risks now, you can keep your employees safe while following COVID-19 protocols.
Check out our other COVID-19 safety and business content or direct your questions to Pinnacol’s Safety On Call at email@example.com.