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:
- Start the New Year by updating your workplace safety plan.
- Clear walking surfaces of snow and iceto prevent slips, trips, and falls.
- Make sure that powered equipment like snowblowers are properly grounded to protect workers from shocks or electrocution.
- Evaluate snow removal tasks for hazardsand plan how to do the work safely.
- 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.
- 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.
- Wear footwear with non-slip or non-skid treadsfor increased traction.
- Wear brightly colored or reflective clothingto make yourself visible to drivers.
- Don’t overexert yourself in the cold.Frigid temperatures can increase the risk of heart attack — even in otherwise healthy individuals.
- Know the signs of hypothermia and frostbite.Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect either condition:
- Slurred speech or mumbling
- Clumsiness or lack of coordination
- Itching, burning, or ‘pins and needles’ feeling
- Pale, shiny, or waxy skin
- Blisters or swelling