You're as cold as ice, don't be willing to sacrifice (your health and safety) header image

30th November, 2016

You're as cold as ice, don't be willing to sacrifice (your health and safety)

With temperatures hitting the minuses for most of the UK last night (yes, more freezing than freezing), it's important to remember that when you're as cold as ice, extra consideration should be given to health and safety.

It's hard enough getting out in the cold to defrost the car in the morning, but with a large proportion of people undertaking some or all of there working day outdoors, it is important to remember the increased risks from the decreased temperature.

Ice, ice, maybe?

Yes, and ice not only means it is cold, but also it is slippy.

We have all seen or experienced slips on the ice, and ice can be a big risk in outdoor working environments like construction sites.

It is important to take the increased risk into account, and put in place the appropriate control measures needed.

Gritting, clearing and salting walkways regularly when the temperature drops should be an important part of winter site management.

Remember, it is not just people that can slip on icy surfaces, vehicle routes also need assessing.

Snow is falling, all around me?

Not yet, maybe. But with the cold weather arriving, could it be only a matter of time?

Temporary roofs, scaffold sheeting and other temporary shields can be used to protect your site and working platforms from the elements, and help you comply with the legal requirement to provide a safe place of work.

You're as cold as ice?

It's not just safety risks to think about in the cold, but also the health of outdoor workers.

Wrap up warm! Clothing and PPE must be suitable for protection against the cold particularly in cold windy, icy or snowy conditions.

Welfare and rest facilities need to provide a warm place of rest to allow the workforce to get a break from the cold.

Frequent breaks should be encouraged to give workers regular opportunities to warm through, and change gloves, socks and other clothing if it has become wet.

Warm drinks and snacks should be available, particularly warm liquids such as soups, teas, coffees and hot chocolates.

The cold never bothered me anyway?

If workers show signs of shivering and loss of coordination, not only does this in itself increase the risk of accidents, but also shows they are being affected by the cold.

Raise awareness of the symptoms of cold stress and the early signs of hypothermia.

Slurred speech, memory loss and cold pale or blue skin are all indicators that quick action is needed.

For a quick refresher download our free tool box talk for cold environments, and don't forget to do a risk assessment for outdoor work.

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