It is important for companies that perform work outdoors to plan for and educate their employees on safety policies regarding winter weather. Protect Environmental conducts spill cleanup operations year-round so our employees are trained and equipped to prevent serious injury during the coldest months of the year. When unprepared employees are exposed to cold weather conditions (especially temperatures below freezing) they run the risk of succumbing to several types of injuries including but not limited to slips/falls on ice, hypothermia and frostbite.
Some factors to consider when preparing employees to work outside during the winter months are environmental conditions such as humidity, air temperature, wind chill and precipitation. The weather forecast should be closely monitored while employees are working since a change in any one of these conditions could mean a major change in the protection required to keep employees safe.
A few protective guidelines that should be utilized include limiting exposure to the environment, wearing multiple layers of clothing, eating and drinking warm, high calorie foods and avoiding exhaustion, fatigue and excessive caffeine consumption. Portable heaters, hats, gloves, hand warmers, heavy coats, warm vehicles and short breaks are all tools that can be used to combat cold related illness and injury.
The most important thing a company can do to prevent accidents and injuries in cold weather is promote employee training on how to prevent, recognize and treat these injuries. Any employee who is experiencing mental confusion, numbness, tingling or a change in the color or texture of their skin should seek shelter from the cold immediately and request medical attention if it is needed. The same applies if an employee notices these changes in someone else; it is important for team members to watch out for each other.
Protect Environmental takes health and safety very seriously and we encourage everyone to do so as well. We have responded to chemical spills, bio-hazard spills and other emergencies during the harsh months of winter for over 18 years so our teams know what to expect and are fully prepared. At Protect, we believe that proper training and forward thinking allow us to keep one emergency from becoming another.