Winter Weather Toolbox Talk

Use this toolbox talk and cover general safety precautions to take when working in winter weather conditions.

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Winter Weather Safety Talk

When it comes to safety, winter weather can pose many different work-related hazards. The temperatures are going to be cold and weather conditions can be dangerous to travel in. All winter weather hazards should be addressed and taken care of to keep matters as safe as possible. There should be a plan put into place to clear parking lots, sidewalks, and other locations. Have guidelines for employees to follow on safe decisions for driving to work.

Crash Statistics For Winter Driving

Winter weather is one of the biggest times of year that accidents happen. It is a whole new experience driving in these icy and slick conditions. The Department of Transportation has a record of 192,000 injuries every year that have occurred due to winter weather. The death rates for the winter weather conditions is even higher, 2,200 each year.

If that was not enough, then you have to factor in the property damages that happen as well. Winter weather is at fault for millions of dollars worth of property damage incidents. Operating a vehicle in these conditions should be taken very seriously, even for experienced drivers.

On The Job Injuries Due To Winter Weather

When you live in an area that experienced moderate to severe winter conditions, take the needed precautions to keep areas safe. Slips, trips, and falls are some of the most common occurrences of injuries while working. Some of these instances even cause fatalities.

As the person in charge of running a business, it is your job to ensure safety. Make sure you are taking all the right measures to avoid hazards for employees. Salting parking lots and walkways in addition to having snow cleared regularly will help.

Safety Tips For Winter

All employees should do their best to stay as safe as possible during winter conditions. Whether their jobs require them to be working indoors, outdoors, or on the road. There are many precautions that should be taken to make sure everyone stays safe.

When Driving

If the job that you are performing requires you to be on the road, you need to do so cautiously in winter conditions. There are times that you may have to choose to stay put instead of risking your safety. Then there are some situations where the job just has to be done. Consider making a safety checklist for yourself that includes things such as:

  • Watch the news and monitor incoming weather
  • Leave a day early or late to avoid bad conditions
  • Stay put if you can
  • Be defensive while driving
  • Stay a safe distance away from other vehicles
  • Drive slow
  • When Walking On Icy or Snowy Surfaces

    When there is snowy, ice, and sleet outside driving to work is not the only hurdle you have to overcome. Then there is walking into the building or to and from where you need to be. Whether you work outdoors or indoors, knowing how to be careful on these surfaces is important. Some things to remember that will help you to not get injured are:

  • Wear weather approproate footwear with solid tread soles
  • Take your time, don't rush
  • Make short strides
  • Have parking lots shoveled or plowed
  • Salt sidewalks, parking lots, and other highly traveled areas before working hours
  • Remove any and all trip hazards
  • Winter Weather Working Conditions

    A lot of times, construction work is all outdoors. When there are winter conditions in the forecast, some changes may need to be made. Workers should all know to wear appropriate clothing for the conditions. Staying warm and protected during these times is very important.

    Watch Upcoming Weather

    When you are prepared for the weather conditions, it is easier to make them manageable. If you are not aware of what is coming, you are not going to have the necessary equipment to provide your workers during these conditions. Watch the news and have a plan set into place.

    Limit Exposure Times

    When you work a job that requires you to be outdoors, you get used to the weather changes. It is important to always pay attention to what your body is telling you though. If you are exposed to extreme temperatures and conditions for long periods of time, it can be harmful to you.

    Each employee should have a limit of exposure time that they are allowed to have during these times. Break up the workers into groups and let them switch out periodically. That way, workers have the ability to go and warm-up their body temperatures.

    Hypothermia and Frostbite

    Workers who are working in the winter elements need to be educated on the risks that there are. This is a necessary step to protect your employees and make sure everyone is working in safe conditions. Hypothermia and frostbite can happen faster than many realize.

    There are times that you are doing all that you should be and bad things still happen. When your workers know the warning signs and symptoms to watch for, they can better protect themselves.

    What Is The Difference In Hypothermia and Frostbite?

    Both conditions are serious and need medical attention. Hypothermia is more life-threatening and affects more of your body than frostbite does. Here are the definitions of the two conditions.

    Hypothermia

    Hypothermia affects the majority of your body. It is when you are no longer able to regulate your body heat and you are getting too cold. Your body temperature is important in keeping you alive, and if you do not have enough energy to sustain it, it can become very serious quickly. Some of the warning signs of hypothermia are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Shivering
  • Memory loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Frostbite

    When areas of your skin are exposed to freezing cold temperatures, frostbite can set in. This can even happen when clothing gets damp and isn’t protecting your skin well. The cells and tissue in the skin begin to die and not receive blood flow.

    In some instances, this can be treated and in others, amputation is required. Symptoms to watch for are:

  • Numb
  • Tingling
  • Discolored skin
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