Ensure Cold Weather Safety

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March soon might go out like a lamb, but it's never too late to look at protecting your employees and subcontractors who work outdoors from the cold weather lion.

March 01, 2004

March soon might go out like a lamb, but it's never too late to look at protecting your employees and subcontractors who work outdoors from the cold weather lion.

Prolonged exposure to cold weather can cause frostbite, hypothermia and other serious maladies that can affect liability insurance - builders are required to provide a safe workplace - get builders into trouble with OSHA and harm their reputation with subs.

ESIS Inc., the risk-management arm of ACE USA, compiled a list of precautions that builders should share with their teams. OSHA is another good source. Go to www.osha.gov and search for "Protecting Workers in Cold Environments."

 


 

Top 10 Cold Weather Precautions

 

 

  1. Wear three layers of clothing and always layer to protect the head, hands and feet.

     

  2. Drink plenty of fluids, preferably warm, sweet beverages. Cold weather suppresses thirst, and dehydration can occur without proper fluid intake.

     

  3. Increase caloric intake. Working in heavy protective clothing expends more heat, so 10-15% more calories are required.

     

  4. Take periodic breaks to warm up, with additional breaks as wind velocity increases or the temperature drops.

     

  5. Avoid alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and medications that inhibit the body's response to cold or impair judgment.

     

  6. Avoid the cold if you are becoming exhausted or immobilized, conditions that can accelerate the effects of cold weather.

     

  7. Shield work areas from drafty or windy conditions. Seek a heated shelter if you have prolonged exposure to a wind chill of 20 degrees or less.

     

  8. Work during the warmest hours of the day and minimize activities that decrease circulation.

     

  9. Learn the symptoms of cold-related stresses: heavy shivering, uncomfortable coldness, severe fatigue, drowsiness and euphoria.

     

  10. Work in pairs so partners can monitor one another and obtain help quickly in an emergency.

     

     

     

 

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    Source: ESIS Inc.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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