One of the most important things to remember about winter weather is the wind chill. The wind chill is the temperature that your body feels when the air temperature is combined with the wind speed.
Dressing for the wind chill is important to stay warm and safe while working in winter weather. Make sure to wear layers of loose-fitting, breathable clothing. Wool or synthetic fabrics are best, as they will help to wick away moisture and keep you warm even when they are wet. Don’t forget to cover your head, as most of your body’s heat is lost through your head. A hat or scarf will help to keep you warm and protect you from the wind.
Frostbite occurs when the skin and tissue freezes. It most often affects the extremities, such as the hands, feet, ears, and nose. Symptoms of frostbite include numbness, tingling, or aching in the affected area. The skin may also appear pale or blue. If you suspect that you or someone else has frostbite, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
To prevent frostbite, make sure to dress warmly and stay dry. Avoid tight clothing, as it can cut off circulation. If you are working outside, take frequent breaks in a warm area to allow your body to warm up.
Hypothermia is another serious hazard that construction workers can face when the body’s core temperature drops below 35 degrees. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, confusion, drowsiness, and slurred speech. If you suspect that you or someone else has hypothermia, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Snow and Ice
Of course, snow and ice are also hazards that construction workers face in winter weather in certain parts of Queensland. Snow and ice can make surfaces slippery and dangerous to walk on. They can also cause falling debris to land on workers below.
To stay safe while working in snow and ice, make sure to wear proper footwear. Boots with good traction are a must. You may also want to consider using crampons or ice cleats. When walking on slippery surfaces, take your time and be careful. And, if you are working near any overhead snow or ice, be sure to wear a hard hat to protect your head.
Cold stress occurs when the body is unable to maintain its core temperature. This can happen when working in cold weather for long periods of time, or when working in cold water. Symptoms of cold stress include shivering, fatigue, and confusion. Stay dry, as wet clothing can increase the risk of cold stress. And, if you start to feel any symptoms of cold stress, seek medical attention immediately.
Colds and flus
Colds and flus are also more common in winter weather. Construction workers are at a higher risk for colds and flus because they are often working in close quarters with other people. They are also more likely to be exposed to germs and bacteria.
To avoid getting sick, make sure to wash your hands often and avoid touching your face. If you are working in a shared space, such as a construction site office or trailer, make sure to clean and disinfect surfaces often. And, if you start to feel sick, stay home from work and see a doctor.
Working in winter weather can be dangerous for construction workers. By taking some simple precautions, you can stay safe.
This Post Is Part Of A Series: 101 Toolbox Topic Ideas For The Construction Industry
Do you struggle to come up with toolbox talk ideas each week to discuss with your workers? Fear no more, Work Safety QLD is here to the rescue with 101 Free Toolbox Talk Ideas for the Construction Industry.
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