Snow safety avoids on-the-job cold stress and slips, trips and falls. Plan ahead for the next flurry with the right PPE, equipment and vehicles.
A snowfall adds additional hazards for outdoor workers. In this podcast, hear about the four major cold stresses caused by exposure to winter weather.
Host Dan Clark offers tips on avoiding slips, trips and falls in snow. He also has advice on workers pacing themselves in cold weather, driving for work in snow, and how employers should plan and prepare for a blanket of white.
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Dan Clark: Snow may not seem like it can interrupt business that much but just an inch of the white stuff can cause slips, trips and falls, traffic problems and employee snowball fights. Coming up next, 5 Tips For Snow Safety At Work.
Hi, I’m Dan Clark with The Safety Brief. We take on health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites, a service of Creative Safety Supply. Save 10 percent off your entire order at creativesafetysupply.com with coupon code BIG10.
If you’re working outdoors, snow can cause all kinds of hiccups:
• Poor visibility;
• An icy and wet work environment;
• Miserable walking and driving conditions; and
• Cold stress.
The four primary cold stresses are:
• Frostbite, where parts of the body actually freeze;
• Chilblains, where the capillaries in the extremities are damaged due to cold;
• Trench Foot, caused by having cold or wet feet for a long time; and
• Hypothermia — this is pretty bad news. It’s when your body temp gets too low, caused by extended time spent in the cold.
So, defend against this subfreezing drama with these 5 Tips For Snow Safety At Work.
1. Pick the right PPE. Remember, workers provide their own. There is no OSHA requirement for employers to provide ordinary clothing and accessories to protect from the cold. You’ll want:
• Footwear with traction or ice cleats;
• Warm layered clothing;
• Gloves; and
• Sunglasses if the snow causes glare.
2. Beware of slip, trip and fall hazards.
• When walking, take short shuffling steps like a penguin;
• Keep your hands out of your pockets.You need them for balance;
• Combat slick stuff with salt and deicer. Clear it with the right size shovel;
• Use temporary signs and cones to mark snow-covered danger areas until they can be cleared.
3. Pace your work.
• Snow shoveling can cause heart attacks — and not just in the heavy, older huff-n-puffers. Healthy workers are at risk too;
• Don’t rush to finish so you can get back indoors.
4. Be careful driving in snow.
• Use extra caution and make sure the clear and defrost windows before you begin driving;
• Have an emergency kit in the vehicle with an ice scraper, snow brush, shovel, flashlight, traction aids like Kitty litter or sand, flares, jumper cables, snacks, emergency water and warm clothing or blankets.
5. Employers – modify the work schedule to accommodate for the cold:
• When they begin work, allow employees to acclimatize to the cold;
• Offer warm areas for breaks; and
• Schedule outdoor work for the warmest part of the day.
That’s all for this episode, 5 Tips For Snow Safety At Work. Join me again for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s always-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply. Save 10 percent off your entire order at creativesafetysupply.com with coupon code BIG10.
Images of workers in hard hats by MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann; Frosted eyelashes photo courtesy of Minnesota National Guard – Anthony Housey