Working in extreme cold puts you at risk for hypothermia, frostbite, and similar health emergencies. When snow is also involved, the risks expand to include slip-and-fall accidents, dehydration, exhaustion, and more. To prevent succumbing to any of these hazards, we recommend implementing these safety tips when working in snow.
- Wear ice cleats to provide extra traction and stabilization on icy or snowy surfaces. Take shorter steps than usual, but otherwise maintain an ordinary gait.
- Use proper lifting form (bend at the knees, keep your back straight, and lift with your legs) and remove small amounts of snow at a time when manually shoveling sidewalks, driveways, and parking spaces.
- Wear sunglasses when working outdoors on bright days to eliminate snow glare and improve visibility.
- Use a bright orange or yellow reflective safety vest over your clothing to help drivers see you.
- When working near roads or driveways, be on the lookout for skidding or sliding cars since it’s easy for drivers to lose control of their vehicles in snowy conditions.
- Use extra caution when climbing or walking on ladders, roofs, and other high places. Be aware that heavy snow adds weight that can weaken structures and cause a collapse.
- Wear a flashing light on your safety vest or helmet when working outdoors at night. A flashing light attracts attention from motorists and other pedestrians more quickly than a steady light.
- Dress appropriately for the elements by wearing battery heated vests, gloves, and socks, and take frequent breaks within a sheltered space.
Whether you are an employee whose regular job duties take you outdoors in winter or are an individual performing maintenance and upkeep on your own property, working in the snow can be a dangerous activity. Ensure your safety by following the tips listed here and using good judgment when laboring outdoors.