5 Tips to Stay Safe and Warm in the Cold Weather
For those of you who work outside, having the proper cold-weather gear is essential to staying safe, warm, and productive. Living and working in the Northeast (or as some might call it: Canada Lite), there’s no shortage of rain, snow, and slippery conditions which can be hazardous. This post highlights essential tips, tools, and gear to complete your job comfortably and safely.
1) Keep Warm
Dressing properly is critical to preventing cold stress. When working in cold conditions, wear at least three layers of loose-fitting clothing. You’ll want a base layer of wool, silk, or synthetic material to keep moisture away, a middle layer of wool or synthetic material, and an outer layer that is water-resistant but allows ventilation. And don’t forget to keep your head and your hands warm.
2) Keep Dry
Staying dry in cold conditions is essential for comfort and safety. If you get wet while working outdoors – whether from sweating, rain, or wet snow – this can increase the heat loss from your body. Make sure the layers you’re wearing are water-resistant, especially your outer layer. Also, be sure to keep extra clothing handy in case you get wet and need to change.
3) Keep Visible
If you’re working in heavy snow or rain, it can become much more difficult to make yourself seen. Additionally, there is significantly less daylight in the winter months, so it’s important to make sure you’re staying visible. High-visibility gear, portable lights, and flashlights will go a long way toward making sure your presence is known in potentially dangerous situations.
4) Keep Your Footing
We’ve all had to navigate uncertain roads, sidewalks, and trails where we almost end up on the ground due to wet, snowy, and/or icy surfaces. When you have no other option but to walk on slippery ground, take slow, deliberate steps to make sure you have your footing and can react quickly in the event you start to go down. Having proper footwear can also go a long way toward staying upright. Consider water-resistant boots with good rubber treads and possibly some additional traction devices to make sure you can get where you need to go safely.
5) Keep Your Area Clear
Not so different from keeping your footing, it’s also important to make sure you have the proper tools to keep your area clear, especially when working in snow and ice. Spread deicer as soon as possible after a snowstorm to begin clearing any ice and snow, and make sure to keep a shovel handy. For particularly stubborn ice and snow, nothing clears it away quite like a torch.
When it comes to working in cold weather, having the right tools and apparel is critical to ensuring your safety. Set yourself up for success (and avoid preventable injuries), by having the appropriate gear. And keep an eye on upcoming weather to know when you should brace for snowstorms, freezing temperatures, and other inclement conditions.