As winter slowly descends on the UK, so too does the nippy weather, limited daylight and changeable weather. Many workers in industries across the sectors will find themselves working in this weather – which presents many dangers as a result of the cold, the wet and the mistakes those conditions could well cause. It’s important to be prepared and protected for working in such weather – and here are four simple ways in which to do so.
Wear Proper Equipment
Having the correct equipment in which to work is crucial for the potentially extreme weather patterns that winter can present. If you are working with your hands, it is vital they are adequately protected with PPE work gloves from a professional supplier; these gloves can prevent frostbite, and provide further protection from any mistakes made as a result of the cold. It is also important to invest in a thermal hat to prevent heat escaping from your head, and to keep your ears from feeling the pinch. Woollen socks will keep your feet warm and prevent the sensation of your body freezing – all of which serves to keep you safe and alert at work.
Check the Weather Daily
Don’t leave the weather to chance. As weather systems get more unstable year-on-year, you cannot bank on the weather staying the same for any length of time. Check the forecast before you set off for work, and plan accordingly. If a cold snap looks imminent, you’ll be able to prepare by packing an extra pair of gloves and wearing long-johns; if rain seems likely, pack waterproofs to keep yourself warm and dry.
It’s easy to think that the dangers of dehydration apply to working in heat – but this is not the case. Even if you’re not working in scorching heat, you’re still running the risk of dehydration without proper attention to drinking water – especially if the work you’re undertaking is more labour-intensive. You will still break a sweat, and lose water via body heat. But the cold presents another way in which you can suffer dehydration: your skin itself. In the cold your skin is more likely to dry, stiffen and crack, resulting in wounds and an increased likelihood of infection. Keep as much of your body covered as possible, and use moisturisers on exposed skin regularly.
Preparing for work in winter weather does not stop with you as an individual – unless you work alone. If you work for a contractor or company, they should be putting safety measures in place to keep you safe and healthy at work. If you find yourself running too cold, your shivering may make you less likely to perform well. Your supervisor is legally required to provide you with adequate warmth and rest in this event – be sure to speak up if you’re feeling unsafe, and get permission to warm yourself up before returning to work.