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Winter Weather Safety Tips

Posted Wednesday, January 10, 2018 by Jules VanSant.

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While some of our members are lucky enough to be located in parts of the US that do not receive a lot of ice and snow, many of us get to experience the full force of winter weather. Here are some safety tips from OSHA to prevent accidents in freezing conditions.

Preventing Slips on Snow and Ice

To prevent slips, trips, and falls, employers should clear walking surfaces of snow and ice, and spread deicer, as quickly as possible after a winter storm. In addition, the following precautions will help reduce the likelihood of injuries:

Shoveling Snow

Shoveling snow can be a strenuous activity, particularly because cold weather can be tasking on the body. There is a potential for exhaustion, dehydration, back injuries, or heart attacks. During snow removal in addition to taking frequent breaks in warm areas, there are other precautions workers can take to avoid injuries. Workers should warm-up before the activity, scoop small amounts of snow at a time and where possible, push the snow instead of lifting it. The use of proper lifting technique is necessary to avoid back and other injuries when shoveling snow: keep the back straight, lift with the legs and do not turn or twist the body.

Avoid Cold Stress

Extreme cold weather is a dangerous situation that can bring on health emergencies in susceptible people, such as those without shelter, outdoor workers, and those who work in an area that is poorly insulated or without heat. What constitutes cold stress and its effects can vary across different areas of the country. In regions relatively unaccustomed to winter weather, near freezing temperatures are considered factors for cold stress. Whenever temperatures drop decidedly below normal and as wind speed increases, heat can leave your body more rapidly. These weather-related conditions may lead to serious health problems.

Recommendations for Employers

Employers should take the following steps to protect workers from cold stress:

-Schedule maintenance and repair jobs in cold areas for warmer months

Recommendations for Workers

Workers should avoid exposure to extremely cold temperatures when possible. When cold environments or temperatures cannot be avoided, workers should follow these recommendations to protect themselves from cold stress:

PPI members have access to the Environmental Health and Safety Department with Printing Industries of America (PIA) that is staffed with dedicated professionals who have extensive experience within the printing industry. They are a powerful resource dedicated to providing accurate answers, support, and assistance to members.

For questions regarding environmental, health, and safety affairs at your business contact EHS Staff: ehs@printing.org