Safety Corner: Cold Weather Preparedness Plan

Winter weather brings a variety of hazards to industrial jobsites, from slippery surfaces to reduced visibility, to cold weather illnesses like hypothermia. Cold weather can also impact heavy equipment, making it more dangerous to work on or around. In this blog safety corner blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the dangers of cold weather for industrial job sites and explore some ways that workers and employers can stay safe and healthy during the winter months.

Prepare your facility for potential issues that may arise from cold weather:

  • Equipment outside that may need moved inside 
  • Shutoff unused outside water sources to prevent pipes from freezing
  • Monitor walking paths for potential slip hazards
  • Prepare for vendors and visitors by ensuring parking lots and walking paths are safe
  • Watch your roof watch for snow or ice buildup 

Avoid heavy equipment hazards with this checklist

  1. Ensure ladders or stairs are clear of ice, snow or frost before climbing or walking up
  2. Use extreme caution when loading equipment in icy conditions 
  3. Clean your safety glasses more often (fog and dirt may decrease visibility) 
  4. Make sure to clean mud or debris off the soles of your boots 
  5. Check anti-freeze levels on equipment

Prepare your service vehicle for a cold weather emergency:

All service rigs should be equipped with at least one of the following warning devices: 

  • 3 bidirectional emergency reflective triangles that meet the specifications of vehicle standard 571.125
  • Six fusees that meet UL standards
  • Three liquid-burning flares that meet UL standards

Reminder: Flame-producing devices (road flares) are prohibited on vehicles carrying explosives, flammable gas, flammable liquid or a motor vehicle using compressed gas as motor fuel. 

Here are some components of a cold weather plan:

 -Keep an eye on the weather forecast  

-Develop communications plan for your team

-Locate water shutoff locations 

-Locate power shutoff locations

 -Regularly review your facility emergency site plan & maintain a list of procedures

Colder weather can cause everything from minor inconveniences to serious hazards on a jobsite, so like always, being prepared can help alleviate some of the challenges brought by winter weather.