working in winter conditions photo

Safety: Preparing for winter work

Working outside in the winter can be a dirty job, but many of us have to do it.

Are you ready for winter work?

Here are some reminders about dressing for the weather and staying strong, healthy and safe: 

  • Two big concerns of working or simply spending time outdoors in cold weather are frostbite and hypothermia. Hypothermia is a potentially fatal condition caused by loss of body temperature, even in winter conditions people might not consider particularly nasty. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, confusion, light-headedness and profuse sweating.
  • Wear the right gloves for the work you are doing. Gloves should have enough insulation to keep you warm and prevent frostbite, but be thin enough so you can feel what you are doing if you are manipulating controls or tools. Gloves which are too thick can also make your hands and wrists work too hard trying to hold on to objects, causing repetitive strain injury.
  • Dress in layers of light-weight clothing which keep you warmer than a single layer of heavy clothes. Remove layers as necessary to prevent overheating and perspiring which can lead to chills or hypothermia later. Protect your ears from frostbite as well by wearing a hat that will cover your ears, or use ear muffs.
  • Keep your safety eyewear from fogging up in the cold. Investigate anti-fog coatings and wipes to see if these products are appropriate for your eyewear.
  • Your shoes or boots should have adequate tread to prevent slips and falls on wet or icy surfaces. Slow down when walking across slippery surfaces and be especially careful on ladders, platforms and stairways.
  • Get plenty of rest. Working in the cold and even traveling to and from work in the winter takes lots of energy. Cold weather can strain your heart, even if you aren’t overexerting yourself, so be sure to pace yourself when lifting heavy objects or shovelling snow.

Work safe. Farm safe. Home safe.™

Safety: Hazards of fall driving

Weather conditions can be unpredictable in the fall. A bright, beautiful afternoon can turn rainy and cold in minutes. With the days getting shorter, you could find yourself commuting to and from work in darkness.

Common fall driving hazards

Back to school traffic

Fall means back to school traffic for kids, which means more cars and buses on the roads. Drivers need to watch out for increased pedestrian traffic in the morning and afternoon as children walk to and from school and their neighborhood bus stops.

Rain

Rain can be particularly dangerous, as water pools on top of dust and oil that hasn’t had a chance to wash away and makes the pavement extremely slippery.

Fog

Cold fall mornings often lead to fog, which can greatly limit your driving visibility and perception of distance. Fog tends to occur in low places or areas surrounded by hills, water, mountains, and trees. One common mistake drivers make during foggy conditions is putting on their high beams instead of staying with their low beams. When driving through fog, slow down and stay well behind the vehicle in front of you so you’ll have adequate time to stop if required.

Frost

During the fall, temperatures tend to drop dramatically during the night, which can lead to morning frost and icy spots on the road. This is especially common on bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas of the road.

Sun glare

Fall is a bad time for sun glare on the roads. Sun glare can impact your sight for seconds after exposure, making it hard to see pedestrians, oncoming traffic, or the vehicle in front of you.