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November 29, 2016
It’s time to find that missing glove … and remind your employees about working in the cold!

Despite some bouts of downright balmy weather this fall, cold temperatures are settling in across many parts of the country. If you haven’t had “that conversation” with employees about working safely in the cold, it’s time.

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Prolonged exposure to cold or freezing temperatures can cause serious health problems. Danger signs include uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, fatigue, and confused behavior. Train employees to call for help if they observe these signs. Other steps you can take to protect workers from cold-induced illnesses and injuries:

  • Train workers about the dangers of working in the cold and the signs to watch out for.
  • Encourage employees to wear proper clothing for cold, wet, and windy conditions, especially layers that can be adjusted as conditions change. Wear a hat to reduce the amount of body heat that escapes from your head.
  • Be sure workers in extreme conditions take frequent short breaks in warm, dry shelters.
  • Try to schedule outdoor work for the warmest part of the day.
  • Use the buddy system—have employees work in pairs so that one worker can recognize danger signs in a co-worker.
  • Encourage personnel to drink warm, sweet beverages and avoid drinks with caffeine.
  • Remind your crews that the risks can increase with certain medications, if they are in poor physical condition, or suffer from illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, or cardiovascular disease.
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