Winter Safety Tips: At Work

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Your safety is our #1 priority at All Safe Industries, and while the holidays are finally here, safety is never irrelevant. Therefore, we want to share some winter safety tips with you.

Safety Tips

1. Know the Winter Terms

Knowing the winter weather terms can be very useful and important when planning, traveling and even driving.

Freezing Rain — Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees and power lines.

Sleet — Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.

Wind Chill — Temperature it “feels like” when you are outside. The NWS provides a Windchill Chart to show the difference between air temperature and the perceived temperature and the amount of time until frostbite occurs.

Winter Weather Advisory — Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.

Winter Storm Watch / Warning — A winter storm is possible in your area. This includes heavy snow and/or ice. A winter storm watch is issued 12 to 36 hours in advance of a potential severe storm. Monitor alerts, check and gather emergency supplies needed if power is lost.

Blizzard Warning — Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.

Frost/Freeze Warning — Below freezing temperatures are expected.

2. Walking Safely in Wintertime — Slips, Trips and Falls

To prevent slips, trips and falls employers should clear walking surfaces of snow and ice as quickly as possible after a winter storm. Both employers and employees should wear the proper footwear for the winter conditions. Footwear with heavy trends for increased traction are recommended. Keep in mind when walking on snow or ice, to keep hands out ready to steady yourself in case of slips.

3. Winter Driving — Emergency Supplies In Your Vehicle

Although employers cannot control roadway conditions, safe driving behaviour can be promoted by setting and enforcing driver safety policies on vehicles and mechanized equipment that workers are required to operate on the job. An emergency supply kit can be kept in a vehicle and can be useful in any type of weather or emergency.
Emergency supplies can include:

  • Cellphone or two-way radio
  • Windshield ice scraper
  • Snow brush
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Shovel
  • Tow Chain
  • Traction Aids (bag of sand or cat litter)
  • Emergency flares
  • Jumper Cables
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Road Maps
  • Blankets
  • Change of clothes

Tin Can + Matches + Candle + Paper Cup + Clean Snow
In case of extreme emergencies and the danger of low drinking water, snow can be melted and used for drinking water. All that is needed are the ingredients above. Place a small amount of snow in tin can or container and heat until the snow melts. Once it melts, keep adding handfuls of snow until the desired quantity is collected. Note that It is important that snow is melted first to be considered safe to drink. Clean snow should be collected away from work site or roads. The snow should never be yellow.

4. Work Zone Traffic Safety

Workers being struck by vehicles or mobile equipment lead to many work zone fatalities or injuries annually. Drivers may skid or lose control of their vehicles more easily when driving on snow and/or ice covered roads. It is therefore important to properly set up work zones with the traffic controls identified by signs, cones, barrels, and barriers, to protect workers. Workers exposed to vehicular traffic should wear the appropriate high visibility vest at all times.

5. Exposure Limits for Working in the Cold

Know the signs of hypothermia and various other cold injuries. A cold environment challenges the worker in three ways: by air temperature, air movement (wind speed), and humidity (wetness). In order to work safely, these challenges have to be counterbalanced by proper insulation (layered protective clothing), by physical activity and by controlled exposure to cold (work/rest schedule).

Warning signs of hypothermia can include complaints of nausea, fatigue, dizziness, irritability or euphoria. Workers can also experience pain in their extremities (hands, feet, ears, etc), and severe shivering. Workers should be moved to a heated shelter and seek medical advice when appropriate.

6. Cold Weather PPE

Always wear the proper PPE for work and weather conditions. All Safe Industries offers bomber jackets, winter liners, cold weather gloves and socks, hand and toe warmers and more. Winter weather can get very cold and winter clothing will help you stay warm!

Stay safe this winter!

Read More on Cold Weather...

OSHA: Cold Stress
OSHA: Winter Weather

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