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SAFETY MOMENT: Working outdoors in the winter? Take some precautions

Editor’s Note: Safety Moment is a monthly feature by Kyle Black of Seneca Meadows.

On our essential work site we are always on high alert and we watch out for each other, and even more so this time of year so our team can prevent cold stress.  Cold stress can happen when skin temperature decreases and as a result decreases internal body temperature.  The body is unable to regulate its core temperature, and cold stress can lead to serious injury and even death.  We have strategies at the landfill to prevent cold stress which can be used in everyday situations at home during winter months.

Strategies and behaviors to prevent cold stress:

Proper planning and scheduling

  • Schedule outdoor activities in warmer parts of the day.
  • Use the buddy system.

Awareness of circumstances that can lead to cold stress

  • Cold air (wind chill), water and snow.
  • Poor physical condition and/or certain health conditions.
  • Understand how your body is reacting to cold weather.

Understanding and wearing proper layers of clothing

  • Base layer – An inner layer of wool, silk or synthetic to keep moisture away from the body.
  • Insulating layer – A middle layer of wool or synthetic to provide insulation.
  • Shell / outer layer – An outer layer that is wind and rain proof and allows some ventilation to prevent overheating.

Being outside in winter weather can be safe and even enjoyable when armed with the right tools.