Construction professionals are at an increased risk of injury or illness when working in cold conditions. When the temperature drops, you and your workforce are more susceptible to falling victim to serious ailments like frostbite or hypothermia. You are also more likely to slip and fall or experience other serious injuries due to slick, icy surfaces or snow accumulating on rooftops and roadways.
In this three-part article, an OSHA defense attorney will discuss safety measures to take when working outside in the freezing cold. In this section, we will discuss some practical steps to help you get physically prepared starting with proper nourishment and attire. In sections two and three, we will discuss safety measures when working outside in the cold. Remember, for any of your construction-related legal concerns, including defense against Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) citations, an OSHA attorney is here to provide you with accurate legal advice.
1. Nourishment is Underrated
Protecting yourself from the harsh winter elements begins well before you step foot on the icey, slippery surface of the jobsite. Dehydration symptoms accelerate during extremely cold conditions. If you work outside in freezing weather, you should learn more about the best foods to eat in cold temperatures. It should come as no surprise that hot foods like soups and stews are good for you along with high-calorie dishes like pasta. Getting good sleep, eating the right foods, and staying hydrated will give you more energy to stay warm and alert on the jobsite.
2. Dress for the Weather
It should come as no surprise that the way you dress for work is a priority. You want to wear multiple layers, as it’s best to have the option to remove layers instead of wishing you had more. Also, if the outer layer of your clothing gets damp, you should immediately remove it as well. With ice and snow present, you need to combat these wet and slippery conditions with non-slip waterproof footwear. Along with a reliable pair of rubber-soled shoes or boots, it’s also important to have other common winter articles of clothing including gloves, socks, headwear, and a wind-resistant coat. Ideally, you want to leave no part of your skin exposed. It’s also important that workers are wearing their hardhats at all times as slips and falls are more common during the slick wintery months when surfaces are unpredictable.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.