Outdoor working in cold weather

In the winter outdoor workers are more at risk than usual as the temperatures drop, the school has a duty of care towards staff to ensure that they are protected in these situations.  The key is preparation and protection, a big part of that is the clothes that are worn by outside workers. You should remain vigilant and ensure that staff follow guidance and do not put themselves at risk unnecessarily.

Key areas of focus when working outdoors in cold weather:

  • Monitor your physical condition and that of your co-workers.
  • Wear appropriate clothing:
    • Wear several layers of loose clothing for insulation.
    • Tight clothing reduces blood circulation to the extremities.
    • Be aware that some clothing may restrict movement resulting in a hazardous situation.
    • Wear hi-visibility clothing on the upper half of your body.
  • Protect the ears, face, hands and feet in extremely cold or wet weather.
  • Boots should be waterproof and insulated.
  • Wear a hat to reduce the loss of body heat from your head.
  • Move into warm locations during breaks; limit the amount of time outside.
  • Carry extra socks, gloves, hats, jacket, blankets, a change of clothes and a thermos of hot liquid.
  • Stay dry if possible.
  • Include chemical hot packs in your first aid kit.
  • Avoid touching cold metal surfaces with bare skin.
  • Staff could be more susceptible to Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) especially if using power tools in cold conditions – make sure that they are aware of this possibility.

Stay aware of the risks and ensure everyone is protected, as ever you can contact the ProFire office for further guidance if needed.

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