Keeping your employees safe through the winter

This season brings unique challenges for outdoor maintenance workers.
Friday, December 15, 2023

As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, performing outdoor maintenance tasks can become more dangerous for your team. From hanging and removing holiday lights to spending long hours outside in the cold, there are many risks that maintenance workers face through the winter.

Create practices and protocols, train your team, and keep the following tips in mind to prevent injury and keep your staff safe this season:

  • Train staff members on all winter protocols so they know how to protect themselves and stay safe. This includes any seasonal staff you employ, making sure to give a refresher to existing staff as you train new hires.
  • The cold temperatures mean that workers need to dress appropriately with layers, taking breaks to warm up and hydrate throughout the day. Covering extremities with hats, gloves, and warm footwear will help protect workers from frostbite.
  • Train your teams to recognize symptoms of frostnip, frostbite, and hypothermia so that they can stay vigilant in helping to keep everyone safe. Setting up a buddy system with scheduled indoor breaks is a good way to have employees check on each other and look for any signs of concern.
  • Ladders may get slippery when cold, so ensure that if they need to be used, employees are wearing spiked footwear and that there is adequate grip. Avoid setting ladders up on snow or uneven ground and do not climb in heavy winds.
  • Getting dark earlier means that visibility can become an issue late in the day. Ensure delivery drivers stay visible with reflective clothing, start lengthy projects in the daylight, and set up adequate lighting that can help protect your team from slip, trip, and fall accidents.
  • Keep an eye on the weather, allowing flexibility when planning work to be completed. Choose optimal conditions when temperatures are higher to complete large-scale outdoor projects.
  • When shoveling paths and walkways, pile snow out of the way, where it is not a tripping hazard and will not cause a safety issue if it melts during the freeze-thaw cycle.

Maintenance can become more difficult in the winter but take steps to keep your team safe and on the job when the weather turns colder.

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