2018年06月19日

Lower temperatures: what obligations for the employer?

Cold weather extremes can have many health consequences for outdoor workers such as agricultural workers, construction workers(who always wear reflective vests in the work)and the transport industry. Indeed, the latter is particularly exposed to the risk of frostbite, hypothermic discomfort or a decrease in their manual dexterity and their vigilance thus promoting work accidents.

In order to ensure safety and protect the health of their employees, employers are obliged to assess these risks, taking into account, among other things, physical criteria, such as the age and state of health of employees, as well as tasks they must perform. An assessment that should lead the employer to put in place appropriate individual and collective protection measures.

As such, and in accordance with the recommendations issued annually by the public authorities, employers must:
- reorganize the work, in particular by limiting the exposure of employees to the cold, by granting them adapted break times and additional recoveries, but also by encouraging work in pairs;
- set up the workstations by setting up a manual handling aid, making available a heated room to consume hot drinks and storing spare clothes or drying work clothes...;
- provide employees with cold-weather reflective clothing and equipment such as gloves or mittens, non-slip shoes, a safety helmet (iron-on reflective heat transfer vinyl)with an insulating liner and waterproof clothing.

In practice: to help employers to anticipate the risks associated with cold-weather and to better plan outdoor work, a meteorological vigilance device, updated at least twice a day, is available on the Weather website.