Important Winter Safety Tips for Workers
Your everyday safety concerns are a full-time job, but you can always count on Mother Nature to provide extreme temperatures and slippery, wet conditions to give you more to think about — particularly in the winter months.
Cold Weather Hazards
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 42,480 work injuries or illnesses involved ice, sleet, or snow. Colder temperatures bring extra hazards in the form of:
- Slips, Trips, and Falls
- Extreme Temperatures
- Lacerations and Electrocutions
Preventing Slips, Trips, & Falls in Winter
82% of those 2014 accidents were attributed to falls on the same level. That’s no surprise as slick precipitation makes both indoor and outdoor surfaces treacherous. Beyond the obvious salting sidewalks and clearing snow, be sure you’ve added these steps to your seasonal safety list:
- Refresh slip, trip, and fall training before the cold weather hits and point out places that snow and ice will make these accidents more likely.
- Have workers rotate snow removal shifts to avoid muscle strains, frostbite, or overexertion.
- Send company-wide emails and include a weather check in your daily toolbox talk on slippery days.
- Be sure to teach your workers to walk like a penguin over snow and ice!
Tip 1 Walk Like a Penguin
Tip 2 Wear the Right Clothing to Prevent Frostbite
& Hypothermia in Winter
Winter jobs need outdoor gear that will let your workers move while keeping them warm and dry. Be sure they use a base clothing layer that’s made of moisture-wicking material. These special fabrics move moisture to the clothing’s surface and away from the wearer’s skin, so they don’t end up shivering with a damp t-shirt under their safety gear.
And just as proper layering keeps workers dry on the inside, wearing water-repellent outerwear will keep them dry on the outside. If a worker does get wet, make sure they remove wet clothing as soon as possible and move to a warm environment.
Keep the Win in Winter
Seasonal hazards are never welcome, but the news doesn’t have to be all bad. With a little planning and some timely reminders, the changes winter brings can be an opportunity to break workers out of the usual routine, slow down, and make sure they’re keeping their mind on task.