When your warehouse job takes you both indoors and outdoors, you know different seasons bring different hazards. While heat is a problem in the summer, colder temperatures can cause difficulties in December, January and February.
To help protect yourself and your coworkers during this cooler winter season, follow these five safety tips.
1. Keep Walkways Clear
As soon as the temperature drops near the freezing mark, look out for ice. Clear ice or black ice can be especially dangerous. Even when the pavement appears dry, it may be covered with a thin (and slippery) glaze. To prevent slip, trip and fall accidents, shovel snow and ice away from walkways as soon as possible. And, sprinkle rock salt or other de-icers on sidewalks and parking lots on cold mornings and evenings.
2. Mark Hazardous Areas
If you see an icy spot, use signs, cones or barricades to block it off. You don’t want someone to injure themselves while you or someone else is trying to take care of the problem. Similarly, if someone spills liquid outdoors on a chilly day, assume it will turn into ice and act accordingly.
3. Watch Your Step
Be prepared for ice as soon as the thermometer hits around 37 degrees. Walk carefully and don’t put your hands in your pockets. You want to be able to catch yourself if you do fall. If you notice clear ice, take a different route. For example, step across the grass rather than staying on the sidewalk. Finally, when surfaces seem slippery, avoid carrying heavy or cumbersome loads across the area. Having objects in your hands could make it harder for you to keep your balance.
4. Wear Proper Footwear
Your employer may ask you to wear slip-resistant or non-slip shoes. If your company doesn’t have this requirement, it’s still a smart idea. Often, slippery surfaces take you by surprise. The right footwear offers another level of protection. What if you’re not sure what to buy? Check out our past post on the best manufacturing shoes and boots to keep you safe.
5. Dress for the Weather
One of the biggest health threats during colder weather is hypothermia. This happens when someone loses heat faster than they can produce heat, and as a result, their overall body temperature drops. It’s doesn’t have to be subzero for hypothermia to hit. People can suffer from this condition at 50 or 60 degrees, especially if the weather is wet and/or windy. To protect yourself, wear warm and weather-appropriate clothes. This may include a sweater, fleece, coat, rain gear, hat, scarf, lined pants and/or gloves. Also, be aware of the signs of hypothermia such as shivering, shallow breathing and a weak pulse. If you believe someone is in danger, seek medical assistance immediately.
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