Do you know your employer's winter responsibilities?


The winter period is associated with lowering temperatures and other burdensome meteorological phenomena, such as snow or ice on the sidewalks. Due to this fact, the entrepreneur hiring employees will have to fulfill additional obligations in order to reduce the nuisance of winter weather as much as possible. Check what the employer's winter obligations should be fulfilled.

Temperature in the workplace

Negative outside temperatures may reduce the temperature in the rooms, but according to the regulations, such a drop cannot be too high. The basic principle is defined in the Regulation of the Minister of Labor and Social Policy of September 26, 1997 on general provisions on health and safety at work.

As a rule, the temperature in the rooms must not be lower than 14 ° C, except where this is not allowed for technological reasons. However, the temperature in the room should also be adjusted to the type of work - that is, the methods used and the effort involved.

Accordingly, in such rooms as light work halls, cloakrooms for outerwear, grocery and industrial stores, washrooms and preliminary preparation rooms in mass catering establishments, the minimum temperature cannot fall below 16 ° C (based on the Polish Standard PN-82 / B- 02402 "Heating. Temperatures of heated rooms in buildings"). However, in office premises and those where light physical work is performed, the temperature should be at least 18 ° C.

Working outdoors - a hot meal is required

The winter period - in accordance with the provisions of the Regulation of the Council of Ministers on preventive meals and drinks, from November 1 to March 31 - makes it extremely difficult to work in open spaces, so it can be classified as work in particularly arduous conditions. Therefore, in accordance with the provisions of the Labor Code and the above-mentioned regulation, the employer should provide his subordinates with hot meals and drinks.

However, low temperature alone is not a sufficient condition.In order for the obligation to provide a hot meal to arise, the employee should perform work that requires energy effort over 1500 kcal for men and 1000 kcal for women in one shift. However, hot drinks should be dispensed when the outside temperature does not exceed 10 ° C.

Serving hot meals is also connected with the obligation to provide your employees with a room where they will be able to eat them, and in which the temperature will not be lower than 16 ° C. It is also worth remembering that such a meal cannot be replaced with a cash equivalent.

What about ice and snow?

The winter obligations of the employer, who is also the owner or manager of buildings, also include the need to ensure safety on the sidewalks belonging to the property and to prevent the risks associated with snow and ice on the roofs. Such requirements result from the Construction Law.

This type of work can be outsourced to a specialized external company, but also to your own employees. However, in the latter case, it is necessary to make every effort to ensure that this type of work is completely safe. Therefore, a subordinate who will be delegated to such a task should have a medical statement confirming that there are no contraindications to perform the task, undergo special training and be informed about the risks associated with cleaning work.

At the same time, an employee delegated to remove snow from the roof must be equipped with special equipment, which includes:

  • safety harness with a safety rope attached to the fixed elements of the structure and a shock absorber or a self-locking device, safety harness with a hip belt,
  • protective helmet,
  • non-slip footwear,
  • protective clothing suitable for the climatic conditions.

Additionally, a second subordinate should be assigned to work, whose task will be to provide the snow shovel with protection.

It should also be remembered that if bad weather conditions are particularly severe - i.e. wind blowing at a speed above 10 m / s, dense fog, black ice, rain and snowfall or storms, work at heights cannot be carried out. This rule also applies to assembly work, operation and disassembly of scaffolding or mobile working platforms, as well as demolition work if negative weather conditions threaten to overturn part of the structure of the facility.

Therefore, winter is a period of hard work not only for road workers, but it can also affect the work of other entrepreneurs. Due to the fact that severe weather conditions have a negative impact on the willingness to work - for example, tearing through roads that are not snowed - it is worth making sure that the work itself does not turn out to be so burdensome.