Operating Heavy Equipment During Cold Weather Months
It comes as no surprise that winter weather can present a set of unique risks that are not generally associated with other weather conditions. The most common hazards that you most likely associate with winter are the unsafe conditions associated with driving. What you may not think about are other risks that can affect workplace safety. One such area of risk includes operating heavy machinery.
In order to practice winter safety in the workplace and remain safe during equipment usage, employees should consider the following.
Avoid slips and slides.
We all know that icy weather creates dangerous, slippery road conditions. Employees need to think about how this may affect them beyond when they are driving in their car. Machinery parts such as steps, handrails, grip plates, etc. are likely to be slick in the event of icy weather. Employees should be aware of this during times of operation and should be especially cautious if climbing into or out of equipment.
If operating a traveling piece of equipment, the same precautions should be taken that would be taken in a vehicle. Employees should keep an eye out for potential obstacles hidden by ice (such as uneven land) as well as the potential to slide on iced over areas. Administering salt or other forms of traction to machinery pathways may be necessary.
Wear appropriate clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE).
If employees are expected to operate equipment that they regularly step in and out of, it is likely that there may be some sort of temperature control within the equipment. Other employees may travel back and forth between indoors and outdoors multiple times during operation. Because of the likely frequent transitioning between two different environments, dressing in layers is recommended.
Additionally, gloves are an often overlooked necessity for winter safety within the workplace. Touching frozen metal equipment and machinery without protection can be a recipe for severe skin injuries within seconds.
Break more frequently.
Cold weather requires more energy from the body as it tries to stay warm. Employees should be aware of this and take more rests and/or breaks than they would otherwise in order to avoid exhaustion and fatigue. Breaks should be taken in areas where employees can warm up. It is recommended that employees try to eat and drink warm beverages for extra bodily fuel.
Accidents and injuries in the workplace due to winter weather can be severe but are often avoidable if appropriate measures such as the ones above are taken. For information about how SoloProtect can help keep workers safe in severe weather and other adverse conditions, visit www.soloprotect.com/us.