As the weather gets colder and winter draws near, it’s time to start thinking about taking extra safety precautions when outdoors – whether driving or working on the job site.
Prepare for driving in cold weather.
- You may find frost and ice on roadways and bridges in the morning. Give yourself some extra time for that drive to work. Keep in mind that bridges and overpasses freeze first.
- Drive defensively. Watch out for other drivers who may be driving too fast for conditions or have lost control of their vehicles.
- Make sure your vehicle’s antifreeze is adequate for the temperature.
- Keep an ice scraper; a shovel; jumper cables; some sand, kitty litter or traction mats and a blanket in your vehicle.
- Check the tread on your tires. If it’s less than 1/8 of an inch, consider replacing the tires.
- Check the air tanks on your truck and make sure liquid isn’t building up. Over the winter, air brake lines can freeze if the air tanks aren’t drained.
Dress for working in cold weather.
- Wear layers of clothing. Many layers of thin garments trap heat better than a few thick ones. You can always discard a layer if it gets warmer.
- Consider wearing a liner in your hard hat.
- Consider wearing headbands or hooded jackets to protect your ears.
- Keep clothes clean and dry.
- Wear water-resistant boots.
- Wear windproof outer layers.
- Wear cotton close to the body.
- Wear gloves with liners if possible.
- Consider wearing an extra pair of socks for added warmth.
- Make sure your safety vest is clean and in good repair. As the days get shorter, early, low-light conditions make it very difficult for passing drivers, equipment operators and other co-workers to see you.
Take additional precautions against cold weather.
- When possible, take breaks in warm areas.
- When possible, use approved warming devices. Be cautious of carbon monoxide build up when indoors.
- Use the buddy system and check on each other regularly.
- Be cautious of ice buildup on the jobsite. Slip and fall injuries can occur suddenly.
- When possible, schedule work to avoid being exposed to high-wind conditions.
- When possible, consider working with your back to the wind.
The best time to prepare for the cold is before you are exposed. Think ahead and be prepared for conditions.