Over 42,480 American workers missed at least one day of work due to ice, sleet, or snow-related injuries in a single year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Safety directors can keep workers safe in icy temps with these 10 simple workplace winter safety tips:

  1. Start the New Year by updating your workplace safety plan.
  2. Clear walking surfaces of snow and iceto prevent slips, trips, and falls.
  3. Make sure that powered equipment like snowblowers are properly grounded to protect workers from shocks or electrocution.
  4. Evaluate snow removal tasks for hazardsand plan how to do the work safely.
  5. Inspect company vehiclesto make sure they’re in good working condition for winter driving. Make sure tires are properly inflated and keep the gas tank at least ½ full.
  6. Recognize and address winter driving hazards. Always remove ice and snow from windows, mirrors, and lights. Warm up your vehicle before driving. Increase your following distance from 3-4 seconds to 8-10 seconds on wet or snowy roads to leave room in case you need to stop.
  7. Wear footwear with non-slip or non-skid treadsfor increased traction.
  8. Wear brightly colored or reflective clothingto make yourself visible to drivers.
  9. Don’t overexert yourself in the cold.Frigid temperatures can increase the risk of heart attack — even in otherwise healthy individuals.
  10. Know the signs of hypothermia and frostbite.Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect either condition:

Hypothermia:

  • Shivering
  • Slurred speech or mumbling
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Confusion

Frostbite:

  • Itching, burning, or ‘pins and needles’ feeling
  • Pale, shiny, or waxy skin
  • Blisters or swelling
Emelia McEwen  |  MACo PCT/WCT Sr. Loss Control Specialist  |  emcewen@mtcounties.org  |  (406) 449-4370