Winter Safety Tips

Posted by Melissa Hall in #YHSafetyTips, Nov 21, 2018

Winter weather has arrived! Make sure you and your team stay safe by implementing safe work practices to prevent injuries.

Best Practices for Cold Weather Work Environments

  • Provide workers with tools and equipment to complete their job in cold weather
  • Schedule outdoor jobs during the warmest part of the day in the winter months
  • Avoid exposure on extremely cold days and avoid long term exposure to extreme cold
  • Provide warm areas indoors for breaks
  • Monitor weather alerts and have a way to communicate with workers and stop work or relocate if necessary

Monitor workers who are at risk for cold stress

According to the National Institute for Safety and Health (NIOSH), cold stress is defined as a number of medical conditions resulting from prolonged exposure to extreme cold that can result in serious injuries, or even death if left untreated. NIOSH lists hypothermia, cold water immersion, trench foot, frost bite and chilblains as types of cold stress.


Be aware of how the community warns the public about severe weather including outdoor sirens, radio, and television

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides multiple ways to stay informed about winter storms. If you are notified of a winter storm watch, advisory or warning, follow instructions from your local authorities.

Dress Properly For the Weather

Wear Layers of Loose-Fitting Clothing
Tight clothing reduces blood circulation – wear loose clothing to ensure warm blood is circulated throughout body.

Ideally you should wear three layers: An inner layer of a wool, silk, or synthetic fabric to wick moisture away from the body; A middle layer of wool or synthetic fabric to provide insulation, even when wet; and an outer layer that provides wind and rain protection with some ventilation to prevent overheating.

Insulated and waterproof gloves should also be worn to protect your hands from the extreme weather.

Wear Knit Hat and Mask
Wear a knit hat that covers your ears and head to reduce the amount of heat that escapes from your head. In extreme temperatures, you can add a mask that covers your face and mouth.

Insulated and Waterproof Boots
Workers should wear proper work boots with rubber treads to prevent slips and falls outdoors. Your boots should be waterproof and insulated to keep feet warm and dry when working in ice and snow.


Dealing with Snow and Ice

  • Don’t allow snow or ice to accumulate in work areas - Clean them off immediately especially roofs and scaffolds
  • Clear ice and snow off of walkways and steps to buildings
  • Use sand or salt to make walkways and parking lots less slippery
  • Know where snow shovels and gloves are located when working in snowy conditions
  • Ensure ladders are free of ice and snow
  • Cover ladders and scaffolds at the end of your shift to limit snow and ice accumulation
  • Wear proper fall protection when working from heights
  • Follow safe shoveling procedure

Unfortunately, there may be times when extreme temperatures or large amounts of snow and ice will cause the need to reschedule work. If this is the case, inform workers about your emergency procedures and alert them when it is safe to return to the jobsite. As a company, your top priority should be keeping all workers safe in the winter months.

Follow our #YHSafetyTips blog for weekly updates! If you haven’t read last week’s blog on OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard you can find it here.

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