Please review the following information with employees to take extreme caution as they work outside as extremely cold temperatures move in over the upcoming days. Wind chill values will range from -5 to -18 degrees over the next few days along with snow showers and blowing snow though out the week will create slippery conditions.
With the cold temperatures employees need to be concerned about hypothermia, frostbite, and icy conditions. But, cold weather can be a distraction causing employees to lose focus on the task at hand which can lead to unintended events (near-miss or injury). Also, employees tend to drink fewer fluids in cold conditions which can lead to dehydration. As covered below, dressing appropriately and taking frequent breaks is important in the prevention hypothermia and frostbite, but these steps also help employees to maintain proper hydration and focus on job tasks. So do not let the cold weather have a negative effect on your mental focus or physical well being.
Supervisors are encouraged to discuss the following with all employees that work outdoors.
- Hypothermia – See information below
- Frostbite – See information below
- Driving Hazards –
- Watch for icy roads. Things such as black ice, starting and stopping, passing and other factors, make driving extremely dangerous.
- Make sure truck and trailer lights are free of snow and ice.
- Slips, trips and falls –
- Wear proper footwear to ensure good traction.
- Salt work areas as needed.
- Keep equipment steps free of ice and snow.
- Truck Cabs – Appropriately store and secure winter clothing and other loose items (i.e., thermos, etc.)
To prevent hypothermia take frequent breaks to warm up and wear proper clothing, remember the acronym C-O-L-D when dressing for cold weather:
Keep it Clean
Wear it Loose and in Layers
Keep it Dry
In low temperatures frostbite exposure can occur in 10 minutes when a combined temperature and wind-chill reaches -32° Fahrenheit, employees need to guard against frostbite by being especially careful of exposed hands, face and ears. Minimize exposure to avoid frostbite. Refer to Wind Chill Chart below for exposure guidelines.