If your job requires you to spend time outside during the winter months, it’s important to make workplace safety your top priority. You’ll need to protect yourself from common winter hazards, including hypothermia, frostbite and dangerous slips. To keep yourself as safe, focused and comfortable as possible this winter, follow these simple tips.
Wear the right clothes
Layer up with warm shirts, pants, sweaters, and coats to protect yourself from cold temperatures. By wearing several layers you’ll not only stay warm but also be able to shed layers as needed to adjust to warmer temperatures throughout the day. Wear wool socks and thick gloves to keep your hands and feet warm and to promote circulation while you work.
It’s much harder to stay warm if your clothing gets wet, so it’s important to avoid getting damp when you’re working. Wear waterproof outer layers, including rain jackets and snow boots, to keep yourself dry. If your clothes get wet, change them as soon as possible. Working in wet clothing when temperatures are below freezing greatly increases the risk of hypothermia.
Breaks are required for workers of all kinds, but they’re especially important for workers who spend a lot of time outside exposed to adverse weather conditions. Take plenty of breaks throughout the day, especially if you begin to feel cold, shaky or weak. Take your breaks in a comfortable, dry place and sip on a hot beverage to warm yourself up.
Rest is also essential when you’re working outdoors during the winter. Being tired while working outside increases the risk of falls and other accidents. Get plenty of sleep before your shift to ensure that you’re well-rested and alert while you’re working.
Don’t forget to eat
When you’re working hard, it’s easy to forget about taking food and water breaks. Make sure you stop working periodically to eat nutritious meals and drink water to keep yourself hydrated. Warm meals, like soups and hot sandwiches, can keep you feeling full and give you the energy you need to continue working in winter weather conditions.
Prepare for the worst
If you work remotely, on a site or spend a lot of time on the road, keep emergency supplies handy. Include flares, candles, matches, nonperishable food, bottled water and emergency blankets in your kit. These supplies can keep you safe until you are able to get help in the event of an emergency, like a vehicle breakdown or unexpected road closure. Even if you never actually have to use your emergency kit, it’s always better to overprepare than to be caught without the necessary supplies in case of an emergency.
You might not be able to avoid exposure to winter weather conditions, but you can certainly do a lot to keep yourself safe on the job. Whether you only spend a few minutes outside while you’re on the clock or you’re constantly working outdoors for your job, these tips can keep you safe and comfortable no matter what the forecast has in store.
Whether you’re looking to move indoors or are ready for a different outdoor job, Award Staffing can help. Browse our job opportunities to find your future.