With low temperatures, chilly winds and icy roads, winter can be a challenging time of year if you are working in cold weather. Besides being uncomfortable, these conditions can be dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions. By learning what to do, contractors can stay safe no matter how far the mercury dips.
5 Tips for Contractors Working in Cold Weather
1) Dress Appropriately
If you are working outdoors, you will need the protection of warm, layered clothing to keep in the heat. The layers should fit loosely, because tight clothing can restrict your circulation. Also, make sure to protect your extremities with items like insulated boots, hand warmers and wool hats.
2) Be Aware of your Surroundings
As a contractor, you can stay safe every winter by learning to be aware of dangerous workplace conditions. For example, if you have to drive on snow, you can stay safe by operating machinery at a reduced speed. If you must climb a ladder, it’s important to first identify any icy spots in the area.
3) Work in Teams
If you are outside working in cold weather, it is better not to be alone. By working in pairs, it is easier to recognize warning signs that could result in serious issues, like frostbite. You can both work together to recognize the signs and symptoms of cold weather injuries.
4) Listen to your Body
Since working outside in cold weather can be tough on your body, you must treat it right. You should drink warm, sweet beverages, such as a sports drink, and avoid both caffeine and alcohol. If you are taking medications or have certain physical conditions, you may be at greater risk.
While you are working, pay attention to how your body reacts to the cold. These four symptoms could signal danger.
Early Signs of Hypothermia
- Loss of Coordination
- Confusion and Disorientation
Hypothermia is a medical emergency that could become life-threatening if not treated early.
5) Take Frequent Breaks
When you are working in cold weather, there’s no reason to try to be a hero. You should take frequent breaks to avoid exhaustion and fatigue. You will need to have enough energy to keep your muscles warm. When it gets too cold outside, move into a dry, cozy shelter.
If you are working outside in frigid temperatures, these five tips will help you stay safe and warm.