The chilliest season of the year has arrived. Cold temperatures make the indoors extra cozy, but working outside can be a challenge.
If much — or all — of your job involves being outdoors when it’s seriously cold outside, it’s important to take extra precautions to stay safe and healthy. Here’s some advice to help you get through the next few months without a hitch.
Drinking plenty of water feels natural during the warm summer months, but this is also important during the winter. The exact amount of water you need to drink per day varies according to several factors, including how active you are and the climate you’re in.
Make hydration a habit by drinking a glass of water before you leave for work each morning and another before you go to bed. It’s also important to keep water near you at work and drink it throughout the day.
If you’re going to work outside — even for a few minutes — you need to be appropriately outfitted for the temperature. Dress in layers, making sure your hands, feet, and head are warm and dry. When you’ll be walking in snow and ice, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration advises wearing insulated, water-resistant boots with good rubber treads.
Limit Exposure to Cold Temperatures
When weather conditions are optimal, you can safely spend your entire shift outdoors, but frigid winter weather doesn’t allow for this. When possible, work with your employer to schedule your shifts around the warmest time of day. Winter nights are notoriously long, while days are short, so this might necessitate having to work a shorter schedule during especially chilly times.
Whether driving is part of your job or just how you get to work, you’re likely behind the wheel at some point on most days. At the beginning of the season, take your personal vehicle to see a mechanic to make sure essential elements — i.e., brakes, visibility systems, engine — are working properly.
While on the job, never drive a vehicle you’re not licensed to operate — in the winter or anytime — immediately inform your employer of any vehicle maintenance issues, and use good judgement before getting behind the wheel.
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