Winter Safety Dangers

Though we are given a daily weather forecast, winter proves to be a unique and unpredictable season. The winter months bring several workplace dangers which are not encountered during other parts of the year. From driving and walking into work, to workplace winter conditions, it is important to be prepared and mindful of safety and preventable hazards.

Workplace Safety for Cold Temperatures & Winter Storms

Winter weather hazards can catch us off guard, so winter workplace safety is crucial. If you work outside, wearing the proper personal protective equipment such as boots, jackets, hats, facemasks, and gloves will keep you safe against extreme winter weather conditions. In addition to wearing the proper PPE to work safely in, it is important to be able to detect the signs of skin dangers such as hypothermia, frostnip and frostbite.

  • Hypothermia starts when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Symptoms begin with shivering, increased heart rate and rapid breathing.
    • Symptoms increase with slurred speech, confusion, drowsiness, pulse drop, hallucinations, and a loss of consciousness.
  • Frostbite is freezing of the skin. Frostnip and frostbite usually occur in the commonly exposed areas such as the hands, feet, or face.
    • Frostbite causes redness of the skin, potentially turning the skin white and resulting in blisters.
    • Frostbite can become severe enough to affect all layers of the skin and can result in loss of joint or muscle functionality.
Winter Safety Driving

Winter Driving Safety

More than 20% of annual vehicle crashes are weather-related. Whether driving to work or driving for work, here are some quick winter driving safety tips to keep in mind during your winter commute:

  • Have your vehicle inspected by a professional before the winter season.
  • Check for tire pressure and tread, proper breaks, fluid levels, lights, and windshield wipers before each venture.
  • Create an emergency kit of all of your needs such as: flashlights, blankets, jumper cables, emergency flares, snacks, bottled water, and traction aids.

If stranded due to inclement weather, remain in your vehicle, call 911 and notify your emergency contact if able. Ensure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Winter Safety

Winter Walking Safety for Slips, Trips, and Fall Hazards

Surfaces are slippery when wet during the winter months. Snow, sleet, and ice add major walking safety hazards. To ensure workplace safety, all walkways should be properly treated with salt or deicer. Ensure any parking lots are plowed and offer a clear path to main building entrances. Encourage workers to wear proper shoes such as boots with treads to grip. Employers are encouraged to provide rubber mats at doorway entrances and display "wet floor" signs near appropriate areas.

Trips Slips and Falls

Workplace Safety Preparedness

Winter months pose a challenge for employees at times. As an employer, it is important to remind your employees that they may need:

  • breaks
  • work-life balance
  • mental health days

Days when weather poses safety hazards, consider allowing employees to work from home. Check-in with employees to ensure they are alright mentally if their behavior seems abnormal. Employees appreciate "wellness checks," for it proves the employer cares about the employee as a human being.

Safety is for Everyone

As Occupational Health and Safety Professionals, we realize the importance of keeping employees safe on and off the job. Safety is more than just finding solutions to unsafe behavior by responding to workplace accidents. Safety is about identifying and preventing hazards from happening. Amerisafe Group can assist with your company's safety management effort on-site or internally through program assessment and development.

Contact Us Today!