10 tips for working safely in winter

on 27 January, 2014

For those working outdoors, the winter months bring additional challenges, making on-site work even more testing. Here are 10 simple tips for staying safe in poor weather conditions:

  1. Ensure you are wearing the correct footwear and be mindful of additional hazards such as wet leaves, ice and snow
  2. Stockpile stores of salt and grit in advance of the cold snap in order to be prepared for the snow and ice
  3. Wear the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) – while it may be cold and there is a temptation to layer up, ensure that PPE still fits as it should. With too much padding, the illuminated bands on some hi-vis equipment can shift and therefore lose their visual effectiveness
  4. If exposed to vibration from power tools, be mindful of the potential effects of cold weather on the body and take additional precautions to keep warm and improve blood circulation. The simple addition of adequate hats, gloves and jackets can make all the difference
  5. Store water supplies inside to ensure they do not freeze
  6. Ensure cabins and offices are adequately heated
  7. Ensure all vehicles are stocked with screen wash and de-icer so windows can be kept clear and frost-free to ensure driver safety
  8. Ensure all lights and vehicle headlights are kept clean to improve visibility for the driver and for others to see you
  9. Keep in touch with everyone on site during cold spells and ensure any lone workers have a means of contact. Where possible, work in pairs
  10. Drink warm, sweet drinks to keep up energy levels as well as warm, high-calorie meals such as soup and bread or pasta.

Dominic Proctor is general manager at Parker Merchanting.

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