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Stay Safe in the Cold

There are many among us who don’t have the luxury of retreating indoors when the weather turns cold. Instead, we put on another layer of clothing, take a deep breath and go outside.

Many workers in fields as diverse as construction, agriculture, and police and fire services, spend time working outside –no matter what time of year it is.

Some threats are not obvious

Winter poses many threats that are not necessarily visible to the eye. Think black ice or temperatures that tip to temperatures that are so extreme they could cause frostbite or hypothermia, particularly if workers are not wearing the proper clothing.

With days growing shorter and colder months approaching, now is a good time to remember some tips that will keep you safe when temperatures dip to the single digits, the winds howl and the snow flies.

Tips for cold weather safety:

  • Wear non-slip or non-skid shoes or boots
  • Keep an eye on weather reports to get updates
  • Keep entrances to buildings clear of snow and ice
  • Don’t let snow or ice build up in places where employees are working
  • Use non-slip materials like sand or salt to keep surfaces in parking lots and other public areas less slippery
  • Keep shovels and gloves on hand and make sure all employees know where they’re stored
  • Look up to check tops of buildings, gutters and rooflines to be sure there are no hazards such as icicles, branches or other items that could fall and hurt people below
  • Cover ladders and scaffolding to be sure they don’t become snowy or icy. Make sure to cover them at the end of each shift.
  • Check equipment that has been outdoors to be sure it is not covered with snow or ice that would make it hard to grip
  • Be sure outdoor areas that may become snow- or ice-covered are well-lit
  • Consider installing safety railings on outdoor ramps or other areas that tend to become icy or snowy
  • Use proper techniques for shoveling snow

Winter is not all doom and gloom, however. It brings some happy health news. For instance, just 15 minutes of shoveling snow counts as moderate physical activity, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.

For advice on how to shovel safely, go to http://www.wikihow.com/Shovel-Snow

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