In early January, we talked about steps you could take before and during a winter storm if you are a homeowner. In the post, we discussed how important it was to stay indoors during freezing weather to reduce the health risks involved with these conditions. We saw just what these dropping temperatures could do recently when the polar vortex hit states on the east coast. So, what about those individuals who have jobs that requires them to be outside, such as construction workers?
According to OSHA representative Mandy Edens, workers who must be outdoors in below zero weather conditions are at risk of injury or even death. Cold air, water and snow all draw heat from the body, increasing the risk of hypothermia, frostbite, and trench foot. Increased wind speeds can cause the air temperature to feel even colder, further increasing the risk of cold stress of these workers. Here are some steps to follow or share with your construction firm staff on how to best protect oneself in these conditions.
- If you know you’ll be working in cold weather, plan for it! Wear appropriate clothing and be aware of how your body is reacting to the cold. Avoiding alcohol, certain medications, and smoking can also help minimize risk.
- Wear at least three layers of 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 even when wet, and an outer wind and rain protection layer that allows some ventilation to prevent overheating.
- Wear a hat or hood, and insulated footwear, to keep your whole body warmer. Body heat escapes from your head as well as hands and feet.
- Keep extra clothing handy in case you get wet and need to change, and don’t underestimate the wetting effects of perspiration.
Employers can keep their staff safe during harsh winter weather with the right planning and training. Doing so may even reduce a company’s risk of being hit with a Workers Compensation claim. At Tri-State Insurance Agency, we understand that customers look to the construction industry to build and renovate their homes, erect office buildings and high-rises, and so much more. We provide a complete suite of Construction Insurance products and services to help you with whatever your needs are. Please contact us for more information at (888) 990-0526.