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Working Outdoors This Winter? How to Stay Safe on the Job

Winter weather can be brutal, and working outdoors during this season can make things even worse. Outdoor jobs like construction, snow removal, landscaping, and the postal service are only a handful of the occupations that can prove to be dangerous when cold weather hits. What are some of the most commonly seen accidents that take place during the winter? What can companies do to help keep employees safe from fall accidents and other dangers while working outdoors this winter?

Slips, Trips and Falls

Working outdoors can be dangerous any time of the year, but when you factor in inclement weather and icy conditions, it can get even trickier. Construction workers who spend time on scaffolding and on roofs run the risk of slipping and falling—particularly in the winter.

If you’re an employer, make sure to keep walkways clean and clear of debris to help prevent workers from tripping. It’s also a good idea to enforce rules for employees to wear appropriate shoes and protective clothing. Boots with heavy tread are crucial for wearing in the snow to help ensure workers won’t slip on ice or melted snow.

Cold Stress

Winter can be a difficult time of year for outdoor workers. Spending an entire day outside in sometimes freezing weather is much different than bundling up just long enough to walk to and from your car. Cold stress occurs when body temperature drops, which can happen much faster when it’s raining or if there’s heavy wind. Trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia are all possibilities if the proper precautions aren’t taken.

Employers to make sure their employees wear the appropriate clothing at all times. It’s recommended to wear three layers to help eliminate cold stress. The first layer should be a wicking material to help draw out and absorb sweat to keep the skin dry. The middle layer should be a warm material like wool or fleece, and the outer layer should be something like nylon to help block the wind.

Drinking something warm throughout the day can help keep your body temperature up even in cold weather. If any clothing gets wet, it’s important to take it off and change into something dry.

Winter Roads

Whether you drive a company vehicle or not, it’s important to do a routine check before heading out—particularly in cold winter weather. Check the brakes, lights, tire pressure and tread, as well as fluid levels. Drive slowly and with patience.

Employers should make sure each vehicle has an emergency kit equipped with anything needed in case an accident takes place or the driver becomes stranded. Having jumper cables, a spare tire and tons of warm blankets is so important for helping to ensure driver safety. It’s also a great idea for employers to hold classes on winter driving safety for their employees.

A Final Note

According to slip and fall lawyers in Teaneck NJ, if you were injured on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation. Keep safety in mind this winter, and don’t wait to take action if you do get hurt on the job.