Last November we discussed changing weather patterns as it relates to driving and walking. We also coach our team on dressing in layers during winter months so we can adapt to the rapidly changing weather patterns throughout each day and avoid cold stressors. We take these behaviors home with us as well.
According to OSHA risk factors that contribute to cold stress while working in winter weather are:
- Wetness/dampness/sweatiness, including footwear
- Improper clothing
- Physical conditions such as hypertension, hypothyroidism, and diabetes
We emphasize the importance of proper clothing as a foundation for many of the other risk factors.
That means a focus on layers that can be added or removed:
- Base layer – An inner layer of wool, silk or synthetic to keep moisture away from the body.
- Insulating layer(s) – Middle layer(s) 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.
It starts with one. You can make a difference. Encourage friends and family to be prepared with proper layers of winter clothing.
Kyle Black is the District Manager at Seneca Meadows Landfill located in Seneca Falls, New York.