How to Prepare for Working Alone in the Cold

What you should know before you work alone outdoors this winter

worker on jobsite dressed warmly

When you’re working alone in the cold, it’s important to plan ahead and make sure you’re prepared for anything. This week we’re looking at some of the ways that you can stay safe when you’re working alone in cold weather.

Be prepared

You should always keep an emergency kit when you work alone, and cold weather presents new challenges. Your kit should include first aid supplies, non-spoiling food like energy bars, and water. In winter, you should also think about ways to keep warm. Bring blankets and extra clothing in case of emergency. It’s also a great idea to bring extra socks to keep your feet dry.

Since the winter means shorter days, be sure to think about nighttime safety as you work alone. If you work near roads, you should try to maximize your visibility. Wearing reflective clothing can help others to see you in the dark. Pack a flashlight, not only to help you see, but to make yourself more visible.

Bring supplies

For dealing with the cold, carry a small shovel, a scraper for windshield ice, and a snow brush in your vehicle. If space is a concern, look for a telescoping snow shovel. Even if you already have a flashlight, it’s a great idea to carry an extra in your vehicle. Look for a wind-up flashlight, because the cold can have a nasty effect on batteries.

Carry sand, salt, or even cat litter with you in case you end up off the road, and need traction. Traction mats are another option for getting your vehicle out of snow, mud, and ice. Bring tools like tow rope, jumper cables, reflectors and road flares. These tools could make the difference in getting home safe.

Know the warning signs

As you work in the cold, keep any eye out for some of the most common signs of hypothermia. Your extremities will get cold the fastest. Injuries from the cold are often first experienced in your hands, feet, ears, and nose. When the cold affects your fingers and toes, you’ll begin to feel numbness. As the numbness continues, you may have problems performing tasks with your fingers.

Symptoms move from shivering and numbness to impairment. These can include poor judgement and confusion, slurred speech, and difficulty walking. If you exhibit any of these symptoms while working in the cold, seek immediate medical help. As soon as you’re able, remove any wet clothing and warm yourself up slowly.

To find out how SafetyLine can help your employees working alone in the cold, call 1-888-WRK-ALNE or contact us by email here.

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