For many workers, winter makes their job more difficult. During a normal Wisconsin winter, they have to travel snow covered and icy roads to a job site, and then proceed to work outside all day in the often bone-chilling cold. This creates a number of risks that workers in more temperate climes do not face.
Winter can create additional risks on a job site in much the same way that anyone outside is exposed to the threat of traffic accidents or slipping on an icy surface and falling. For many, such as construction workers, the risks are higher as shoes and boots lose traction and ladders, scaffolds and roofs become even more slippery and dangerous.
There is also the risk of working outside in prolonged, cold weather, where fingers, toes and faces are subject to frostbite, especially if there is exposed skin and there is any wind that can create a dangerous wind chill.
In high winds, exposed flesh of workers could be frozen within minutes. For outdoor workers, the clothes must protect them from the cold at whatever activity level they are engaged. For welders, electricians and linemen, there are additional needs, as their equipment must protect both from the cold and from the dangers of their job, such as electrical shock and molten metal.
It is important that your clothes and personal protective equipment work together to protect you from the harms you face daily during the winter, no matter what they are, and that they not hamper your movement or vision and potentially increase your risks of a workplace accident.
Source: ohsonline.com, “How to Stay Safe and Stay Warm This Winter,” Jake Hirschi, December 1, 2015