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Toolbox Talk: Winter Weather Tasks

By October 27, 2020 No Comments

Don’t Put Yourself on Thin Ice!

Winter weather brings many hazards for those individuals who have to experience it where they live and work. Whether it is driving in poor conditions or having to clear snow, any task done in winter weather conditions often results in a higher chance of injury. One winter weather work task that can easily result in injury is snow shoveling. Read through these best practices and reminders to help keep yourself making a step in the wrong direction during winter weather tasks. Stay safe!

Best Practices to Avoid Injury While Shoveling Snow

  • Prior to considering shoveling as your only option, also consider mechanical methods to clear snow such as a vehicle with a plow or snow blower
  • If you do have to shovel, take time to warm up or properly stretch prior to starting
  •  Do not overexert yourself
    • If you are not used to a heavy physical workload or have health issues take your time while shoveling snow
    • Depending on the severity of any health issues consider eliminating shoveling altogether by having someone else complete the task
  • Use proper work posture when shoveling. Avoid actions such as rounding your back or twisting when lifting
  •  Always lift with your legs and not with your back
  • When possible, push the snow out of the way to limit lifting and throwing the snow
    • Pushing the snow is less hazardous than lifting and throwing snow
  • Use an ergonomically friendly snow shovel
    • While the overall design of snow shovels are basically the same there are many that have been designed with the human body in mind
  • Watch your step and ensure you are wearing the proper footwear for the task

Slips Trips and Falls

Slips, trips, and falls are one of the leading causes of injuries and fatalities in the workplace. According to OSHA, slip, trip, and fall incidents cause 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities on the job. Snow, sleet, and ice greatly increase the chances for slip, trip, and fall incidents to occur

When walking on icy/ snowy surfaces:

  • Remove trip hazards before snow or ice conditions are present
    • This eliminates someone tripping over a buried object after the snow or ice hits
  • Shovel and salt parking lots and walkways prior to work beginning in that area
    • Have walkways addressed before workers get on site in the morning
  • Take your time when walking across any slippery surfaces
    • Taking smaller steps lessens your chances to lose your balance
  • Have the proper footwear on for the weather: wear shoes with solid tread on the soles

Remember, safety is built one step at a time!