When winter comes, it brings a multitude of hazards at virtually every workplace. Whether you work in an office, construction site or retail store, the cold weather can trigger various injuries and illnesses. While you may know the wintertime can be dangerous, you may not be aware of the severity of the issue.
Workplace safety during winter is crucial. Here are a few of the top winter worksite hazards you should know about so you can avoid them.
Slippery work surfaces
Snow and ice accumulation can pose a real danger in the workplace. If you slip and fall, you may suffer a variety of injuries, such as sprains, strains, bruises, fractures, broken bones and brain injuries. Make sure you remove ice and snow as soon as possible, or simply avoid the affected work area until it is clear. You should also wear footwear that has good tread and is water-resistant.
You may be responsible for shoveling snow from the ground or clearing it from heights. Shoveling snow can be strenuous and exhausting, potentially leading to repetitive stress trauma, dehydration and overexertion. To avoid these complications, make sure you take frequent breaks and use proper lifting methods.
Removal of snow from heights, such as rooftops, can lead to falls and electrocutions. You may need to use ladders, fall arrest systems and non-slip boots to be safe while doing this. Proper training is also vital when working in high areas.
Frostbite and hypothermia
The exposure of bare skin to cold temperatures may result in frostbite or hypothermia, and the same applies if your body temperature falls dramatically. When you work outside in extreme weather, make sure you dress in layers and take breaks in warm places. Take extra care to cover your face, hands and feet to protect them from the freezing cold.