5 Ways To Stay Safe When Working Outdoors This Winter

For those who work in hazard-prone industries such as construction, winter brings its own set of additional dangers when the mecury dips below freezing. But with a little bit of prep and planning, you can "freeze out" those winter time accidents and injuries. Here are some tips to work safely this season:

  1. Stay Visible: If you work outdoors, winter's inclement weather makes it harder for others to see you -- whether they are motorists passing by or other co-workers on the job site. Wearing the appropriate Hi-Vis gear will help others spot you more easily, and from a greater distance.
  2. Dress Warmly: In freezing temps, it takes only minutes for hypothermia, frostbite and other cold-related injuries to set in. Be sure to wear layers, with a light moisture-wicking layer next to your skin and a warm, insulated outer layer. Cover the head and neck area to keep heat from escaping through the upper extremities. Take frquent breaks in a warm, dry area.
  3. Maximize Traction: Slips and falls are the number one work-related injury so when outdoors, wear non-slip footwear and keep walkways clear and sprinkled with salt/sand. When indoors, keep floors in entrance areas clean and dry, and be sure to have enough doormats and wet floor signs to cover all entrances.
  4. Learn How to Recognize the Signs of Frostbite and Hypothermia: If skin is becomes red with white/gray patches or feels numb to the touch this may be a sign of frostbite. If confusion sets in or speech starts to slur, this is a symptom of hypothermia. In both cases, it is important to get to a warm area immediately and seek assistance. 
  5. Update Your Emergency Kit: Be sure your vehicle's emergency kit includes winter-weather necessities such as blankets, light sticks, shovel, traction mats or salt, water and snacks.