Dazzling images of the frozen in mid-air Niagara Falls are making people around the world exclaim in amazement and horror ‘Move over Princess Elsa! The Polar Vortex is here!’ Like other forces of nature, winter could kill too, with its ice and snow. Not just when we are driving, but in many other ways. With North America coming under the spell of chilly weather, there is no time like now to wake up and put in the necessary precautions, not just at homes but also workplaces.
Image Courtesy: National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration
Workplace safety is the responsibility of employers. Employers have a duty to protect and train their workers on the hazards of the job and safety measures to use, such as engineering controls and safe work practices. It is no different for staffing buyers who have their contingent labor and non-employees performing work at the workplace. So everyone needs to be alert to possible unsafe work conditions which may present themselves in unforeseen and unexpected ways, with bitter cold, whiplash winds, frost, ice and snow, across North America – while Europe is bracing up to face temperatures 20 degrees below normal.
Workers engaged on snow cleanup, sanitation work, construction, policing, emergency response and recovery personnel and emergency medical technicians have to go out in the open and face the brunt of the cold weather. When the internal body temperature (core temperature) is reduced drastically, the workers may face serious health problems, suffer tissue damage, and possibly die. Let us look at the precautions and safeguards required for various scenarios involving workers in the cold outdoors:
Remember that most, if not all, injuries and fatalities can be prevented with the right precautions and by providing immediate emergency care. If in doubt, an employer could seek the necessary guidance from the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA), for the identification of possible hazards and for on-site compliance assistance.
It is high time you asked yourself if you are prepared to face the vagaries of the weather with a reasonable amount of confidence! Have you?
Mail (will not be published) (required)
4 + four =
Thanks for Subscribing to DCR Blog.