As the temperature drops across much of the US, workers involved in snow and ice removal will be spending more time outdoors clearing the way for pedestrians, vehicles, and airplanes to move about safely. Being outdoors for long periods of time in adverse conditions requires certain precautions to keep workers safe. One of OSHA’s winter weather hazards pages provides a valuable resource for businesses with workers spending a significant amount of time outside doing snow removal and other outdoor activities during cold weather. We’ve included some of our key takeaways below.
Wear the right footwear — Good traction on snow and ice is essential. If you slip, you’re much more likely to experience an injury. Wearing boots with strong rubber treads that are well-insulated and water resistant can help prevent falls as well as cold-related stress.
Adjust your stride — On snowy or icy surfaces, shorter steps can help you maintain your balance. Slowing down the speed at which your walking can keep you more nimble in adjusting to potential slips and skids.
Don’t skip the fall protection — If you’re clearing snow from roofing or other elevated areas, make sure you’re using the same type of fall protection that would normally be required for working at heights.
Listen to your body — Clearing snow outdoors has the potential to cause serious injuries related to cold stress, muscle pulls, dehydration, back injuries, and even heart attacks. Be sure you’re listening to the feedback your body is giving you. If you feel like you’re reaching your limit, stop.
Being aware of and taking precautions against common injuries and accidents experienced during snow clearing activities can help protect workers engaged in this essential activity. If you have questions about providing safety training for your workers or if you’re interested in creating a safety plan for your business feel free to give us a call at 864.905.7835.