Working outdoors is challenging for many different reasons, but winters in New Jersey present a particular set of risk factors. Regardless of the type of work that you may do, cold weather safety is something that every outdoor employee must take seriously.
Cold weather concerns
Aside from the obvious dangers of inclement weather in winter like snow, freezing rain and blizzard conditions, it is some of the lesser thought of risks that cause a number of worker injuries. Cold weather alone is a serious hazard for those that must be outside for long periods.
In an area known for humid summers, it’s easy to forget that temperatures in the teens are not an uncommon sight in the winter with wind chill driving felt temperatures even lower. That frigid weather can cause black ice, hypothermia and other workplace injuries that spell disaster on a job site.
What safety precautions can you take?
These tips for outdoor workers can help keep you safe while you get the job done:
- Wear layers that help keep you warm and dry.
- Take frequent breaks in heated areas if possible, and, if not, at least take breaks out of the wind.
- Drink warm liquids, but avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol as they actually inhibit blood flow by constricting your blood vessels.
- When walking in icy areas, always try to maintain three points of contact.
- Just like in extreme heat, work with a partner so that you can watch for signs of stress due to the elements.
- Contact 911 immediately if you or a coworker are showing signs of hypothermia or frostbite.
While you can never eliminate risk entirely, every worker has the right to a workplace that is as safe as possible. These safety tips can go a long way to ensuring that you make it through New Jersey’s long winters.