5 Tips for Working Safely in Cold Weather Conditions
As the nights begin to draw in and temperatures start to drop, the weather conditions bring with them extra hazards in the workplace. For people that work outside in jobs like construction, this is particularly true and there are many increased risks that come along with cold weather.
It’s important for everyone on site to understand how the weather can have an adverse affect on the workplace. It’s also vital for them to know how to look after themselves properly and how best to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place. Here are 5 tips for working safely in cold weather conditions.
Be Extra Careful Working at Height
Lifting equipment becomes inherently more dangerous when conditions get towards or below freezing. This is largely due to the potential for ice to form on the platforms, which in turn increases the risk of slipping and falling. It’s important to use the correct safety equipment such as harnesses and non slip shoes, and if necessary clear and de-ice the platform prior to setting foot on it. If conditions are too poor then it may become necessary to abandon work altogether until they improve.
Wear the Right Clothing
When working in cold conditions it’s vital to keep your body warm to avoid weather related ailments like hypothermia, or in extreme cases, things like frostbite. Dressing in layers is the best way to regulate your body heat, so you can remove and add them back on as required throughout the day. Thermal base layers plus two or three other warm layers is advisable as well as hats, gloves and suitable footwear that is both warm and non slip.
When we are in cold conditions, the weather works to suppress thirst, so we may begin to get dehydrated without even noticing it. Also, if we’re wearing extra layers of clothing then this could lead to us sweating which will also mean an extra loss of fluids from our bodies. To combat this you should make sure to drink your usual amount of fluids, regardless of whether you feel thirsty or not. Hot beverages such as coffee or tea are great for this.
Increase Your Calorie Intake
When we get cold, our bodies use more energy trying to heat us back up so it’s essential to accommodate for this by increasing your calorie intake. Studies suggest that we may expend anywhere up to 15% more energy working in cold weather conditions, and if we don’t replace that energy it can quickly lead to fatigue which may increase the risk of accidents. Eat more and eat at regular intervals to keep your energy levels up.
Be Careful When Maneuvering Heavy Equipment
Maneuvering heavy equipment around a construction site can be dangerous at the best of times, but when you add in ice and snow to the mix then it can become even more hazardous. Take it slowly when moving around, pay extra attention to look out for obstructions or people, and ensure that all pathways and access routes are cleared and defrosted before beginning.
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