Early signs of spring make it hopeful that warmer weather is upon us. When the late winter weather that we receive in the Midwest alternates between cold days and not-as-cold days, it can often make it hard to best prepare to keep warm all day on construction sites. With the cold weather that sometimes continues to emerge during this time of year, be sure to plan ahead and protect yourself. Check out these tips to help you stay safe and warm:
1. Wear the right clothing
Thermal garments, insulated pants, coats and overalls help. Consider coats that extend below the waist, in the event of bending and reaching, potentially exposing your midsection to the cold. All clothing should allow adequate blood flow. If you get sweaty, consider removing a layer because inactivity after sweating can cause you to become cold again. Make sure boots are thick and properly insulated. Doubled-up socks will keep your feet warm and dry.
2. Carry an appropriate change of clothes
Have a dry change of clothes and spare blankets handy in case your clothes get wet.
3. Wear proper gloves
Many outdoor tasks require finger dexterity. Not only is it important to always wear gloves during winter, but they should fit perfectly and have good insulation.
4. Keep your feet and head covered
Cold weather can be especially harmful in these areas. Wear insulated and water-resistant boots, as well as a warm hat and, if necessary, a facemask. Make sure your ears are covered.
5. Keep moving
If you stand still during downtime, you will likely start to feel cold. Do some form of physical activity, such as stretches, jumping jacks, or pacing.
6. Practice regular winter education
Regular winter education (like this list) serves as a great safety reminder for employees who work outdoors. It also encourages employees to keep one another accountable.
7. Prepare your area before working
When facing winter elements, prepare surfaces where there will be heavy foot traffic. Shovel snow, use ice melt and break away ice chunks as necessary.
8. Limit the amount of time you’re exposed to cold temperatures
Staying indoors will keep you warmer, so if there’s no reason to be working outside, don’t. Workers who aren’t used to freezing temperatures can be more susceptible to health risks associated with cold stress.
9. Consume hot beverages
It helps to drink something hot every couple of hours. Drinks like coffee and tea not only keep you warm, but fight the lethargy that cold causes.
10. Eat soup for lunch
Soup warms your body, as well. Hot chicken noodle soup is good because it’s filling and warm, with few calories.
It’s not worth risking your health on the job site. Stay warm by taking the necessary precautions when you know cold weather is on its way.