Personal Protective Equipment

Cold Weather Protection: What Workers Can Do for Themselves

Yesterday, we suggested some steps your company can take to protect workers from cold weather. Today, we’ll look at steps they can take, and a way to train in those steps in just 7 minutes.

With winter locked in around us, yesterday’s Advisor supplied recommendations from OSHA and other experts on things an employer can do to protect workers from cold weather. Among the agency’s thoughts: scheduling work in the warmest part of the day; setting up a buddy system so workers could monitor each other; and supplying frequent breaks in warm, dry shelters.

But given that you can’t monitor everyone all the time, there’s only so much the organization can do in any safety situation. In the end, the responsibility for safety always falls on the individual worker. Here, then, are some additional tips, taken from the prewritten safety meeting, “Working in the Cold,” found in BLR’s 7-Minute Safety Trainer program, that you can give workers to help them protect themselves.

–Understand the risks of cold weather. Among the most serious are frostbite and hypothermia.

–Know when these threats may be affecting you. For frostbite, that means feeling cold, then numb, with tingling, aching or brief pain. Frostbitten skin also may appear white or grayish, and may blister. Hypothermia is signaled by chills, shivering, and feelings of drowsiness and confusion.

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–Know how to respond to these symptoms. Warm frostbitten areas with blankets and warm (not hot) water, avoiding touching the area, but lightly exercise it, except for trying to walk on frostbitten feet. First aid for hypothermia is warming with blankets and keeping the person awake, and quickly calling for emergency help should the victim lose consciousness.

–Prevent cold weather maladies, via the following steps:

* Avoid bathing, smoking or drinking alcohol before going into the cold.
* Wear layers of loose, dry clothing, with wool underneath and waterproof material as the top layer.
* Change clothes immediately if you get wet.
* Keep moving as you work, and take frequent breaks in a warm, enclosed area.
* Avoid caffeine drinks and especially alcohol!
* Realize that your risk from cold weather is greater if you are overweight, older, or suffer from chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, or breathing or circulation difficulties.

Safety Training in Just 7 Minutes

While OSHA recommends these steps, there’s no specific requirement that you train in them. As with much other useful safety knowledge, it often comes down to whether you have the time to do it. For that reason, we asked our editors whether there was any way to impart this information and do it quickly.

The program they suggested was BLR’s unique 7-Minute Safety Trainer. It’s a set of 50 totally prewritten safety meetings, each teachable in 7 minutes or less, housed in a binder.

That time frame for safety meetings didn’t just happen. Educators know that, in many learning situations, student attention starts to wander in just 7 minutes. Thus each lesson was designed to be completed in that time. The side benefit, of course, is more time for your other important tasks.

Try 7-Minute Safety Trainer at no cost or risk. Click for details.

The 50 prewritten meetings deal with every aspect of safety you’d want to train on, You can view a complete table of contents at the end of this article, but among them are:

–Confined spaces
–Electrical safety
–Fire safety/response
–Machine guarding and lockout/tagout
–Material handling
–PPE use and care
–Housekeeping/slips, trips and falls
–and dozens more.

What’s more, every meeting module includes a detailed trainer’s guide, ready to read as is, a handout, and a quick quiz with answers. Just make as many copies as needed of the handouts and quizzes and you’re ready to train. You can view materials from a sample module by clicking the link at the end of this article.

And when new safety topics arise or training needs to be freshened, the program’s got you covered, with additional new meetings shipped every quarter. This service is included in the program price, which averages just over a dollar a working day. In fact, it’s one of BLR’s most popular safety programs.

If you’d like to see 7-Minute Safety Trainer can work for you, we’ll be happy to send it to you for 30 days, on a free trial basis. Just click on one of the links on this page and we’ll arrange it.

Download Table of Contents
Download Sample Safety Meeting