Not everybody wants to admit it, but winter is coming. It won’t be long before we get our first snowstorm and are settling in for the long, cold months to follow.
Winter creates hazards unlike any other season: wind, snow and ice can wreak havoc. This is especially true for employees working outdoors in the winter months. It is important to follow safety precautions to avoid workplace injuries and workers compensation claims.
The United States Department of Labor offers winter safety tips. These include basic ideas that are good for everyone, such as safe driving techniques, but we’ve highlighted a few of the most important for workers.
Work zone safety
Working on roads or around areas with traffic can be more dangerous in the winter. Drivers are more likely to lose control of their car in hazardous conditions. It is important to make sure work zones are properly marked with barriers set up. Workers should also make sure to wear vests and gear for maximum visibility.
Clearing snow from heights
The risk of slipping and falling is greater in the winter because of ice and snow. This is especially dangerous when working from heights. Make sure surfaces packed with snow are sturdy and able to hold your additional weight. Also be aware of how quickly conditions can change with wind or temperature drops, and be sure to use the safest snow removal method possible.
Slipping on ice and snow
Slips can occur anywhere in the winter because of the increased risk on ice and snow. Paths should be properly cleared, and employees should wear proper footwear. Awareness is often the best tool to avoid slipping. Know your surroundings and be careful when conditions are most hazardous.