Monday was the first official day of winter, meaning colder temperatures are coming. Employers must provide their employees with cold weather safety tips. A safer workplace is important for employers for many reasons. One being, it will reduce workers’ compensation injuries, resulting in lower claims cost.

Precautions Employers Can Take

  • Remove water and snow from floors and sidewalks
  • Take time to warm up before working outside and take frequent breaks to get warm
  • Keep walkways, stairways and other work areas clear
  • Avoid carrying heavy objects that could compromise your balance
  • Inspect equipment and tools for ice build-up before using
  • Ensure your employees are wearing proper protective clothing

Cold Weather Safety Tips for Employees

  • Wear at least three layers of loose-fitting clothing
    • An inner layer of wool, silk or synthetic to wick moisture away from the body
    • A middle layer of wool or synthetic to provide insulation
    • An outer layer to protect from wind and rain, that also allows ventilation to prevent overheating
  • Wear a hat/hood to keep the whole body warmer (Hats/hoods reduce the amount of heat that escapes when the head is exposed)
  • Use a knit mask to cover the face and mouth (if needed)
  • Wear insulated and/or waterproof boots or other footwear to protect the feet (Use non-slip/skid-proof if needed)
  • Use insulated gloves to protect the hands (Use water resistant if necessary)
  • Keep a change of dry clothing available (In case work clothes become too wet)
  • Drink plenty of liquids to help avoid dehydration
  • Work in pairs or use a buddy system to watch for signs of cold stress
  • Consume warm, high calorie food such as pasta to maintain energy reserves

Employers must educate their employees on cold stress and cold weather-related conditions. The most common cold weather conditions are:

  1. Hypothermia
  2. Frostbite
  3. Trench foot

The most common signs of these conditions are:

  1. Shivering
  2. Slurred speech
  3. Disorientation
  4. Inability to walk or stand

Work with your Ohio Managed Care Organization if you have any questions or need more cold weather safety tips.

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