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OSHA: Working safely during blizzard recovery and in cold weather


Mon, Dec 26th 2022 02:40 pm

Submitted by the U.S. Department of Labor

New England – New York – Puerto Rico – U.S. Virgin Islands districts

As Western New York continues to recover from the Christmas blizzard, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds blizzard recovery workers and employers to be aware of the hazards and safeguards associated with storm recovery work and work in cold weather.

Winter weather can expose outdoor workers to frostbite, hypothermia, and cold stress, all of which can be fatal. It is important to know the wind chill temperature to better prepare and perform the work safely.

Follow these work practices to stay safe in cold weather:

√ Know the symptoms of cold stress; reddening skin, tingling, pain, swelling, leg cramps, numbness and blisters.

√ Dress properly; wear at least three layers of loose-fitting clothing, insulated gloves and boots, and cover your head.

√ Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers.

√ Stay dry and pack extra clothes; moisture can increase heat loss from the body.

√ Take frequent breaks in warm, dry areas.

√ Drink warm liquids.

In addition to cold stress, there are other winter weather-related hazards that workers may be exposed to, such as falls, slips, exposure, structural collapse, lacerations, struck-by hazards and electric shock when performing tasks such as clearing snow from rooftops and elevated surfaces, shoveling snow, walking on snow and ice, using powered equipment like snowblowers, repairing or working near downed or damaged power lines, removing downed trees and driving in the snow.

For more safety tips, visit OSHA’s winter weather page.

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