Winter weather can present health and safety hazards to workers, visitors and other occupants of the spaces you manage. Encouraging a few healthy habits, knowing the signs of poor health and ensuring preventative safety precautions are in place can help your facility remain accident-free throughout the season.
Encourage Appropriate Winter Dress Code
When the temperature drops below freezing, it can be tough and costly to keep a facility warm, especially loading and back areas that are exposed to the outside. When working near open doors and windows, workers should wear warm clothing including coats, boots, hats, gloves and socks. Layers are also beneficial to remove clothing as needed. Even workers who are indoors may need to have a jacket or sweater handy when the facility is cooler.
Encourage Hydration and Stretching
Workers often neglect to drink water when the weather is cold, but they still need to replenish electrolytes that are lost. Always have water available and enforce frequent water breaks to prevent dehydration. Muscles often contract in cold weather. This increases the possibility of strains and other injuries. Post information about effective stretching techniques and encourage occupants to stretch thoroughly a few times a day and before lifting or moving heavy objects.
Keep Floors and Workspaces Dry
It’s inevitable that moisture will be tracked in of your facility as workers enter and exit. To help keep your facility and floors dry be sure to keep outdoor walkways clear of snow and ice. Mop and clean doorways and other damp areas before they get too slippery and cause and accident. Use anti-slip mats and “Wet Floor” signs to make people aware of potentially hazardous areas.
Frostbite and Hypothermia
Frostbite and hypothermia both result from exposure to cold temperatures and both can have long-lasting effects. If you suspect either condition has occurred call for help. The signs of hypothermia and frostbite include:
- Shivering or shaking
- Lack of coordination
- Drowsiness or confusion
- Slurred speech
- Skin that is very cold and turns numb, hard and pale
- Blisters or swelling
- Joint or muscle stiffness
Keep the affected body part elevated to reduce swelling and move the person to a warm area to prevent further heat loss. Remove all wet clothing and apply a dry, sterile bandage to the affected area or place cotton between any involved fingers or toes. Seek proper medical care as soon as possible.
For more winter safety tips for the facility you manage, contact MAC today. MAC is a contractor Kansas City property and facility managers have trusted for more than 25 years. MAC can help you with any facility repairs, remodeling, custom cabinetry, construction and many other projects.