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Keeping your workers safe and warm in a cold snap

January 24, 2018

Cold weather can sneak up on Alberta throughout the winter months. Being prepared for a cold snap can help your outdoor workers protect themselves and the municipality. Warm workers are less prone to make mistakes that may cause harm to themselves or others.

When working outside stay warm and safe:

  • Dress in layers so you can add or remove them, depending on the temperature. Working outside in the cold can make workers vulnerable to frostbite and hypothermia, which can be fatal.
  • Layers should be removed during heavy physical activity in order to prevent overheating and dehydration.
  • Clothing should be loose so it does not restrict circulation.
  • Clothing should be cleaned regularly or else it may not insulate well.
  • Drink lots of water to keep fluid levels up. Some other drinks like coffee and tea can actually dehydrate the human body.
  • Take a break when necessary and go inside to warm up.

Be careful with space heaters:   Using propane or kerosene heaters in an area without proper ventilation can cause drowsiness, headaches and dizziness from reduced oxygen levels and build-up of carbon monoxide.

Safe ways to use space heaters:

  • Allow a fresh air vent by opening a window or door. For example, when using a large 165,000 BTU propane or kerosene heater in a double car garage or equal sized building, the overhead door should be open at least four inches. For a single car garage, or similarly-sized space, the overhead door should be open at least seven inches. 
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions to ensure safe use of the heating device.
  • Consider using electric heaters in enclosed areas with limited ventilation.

For more information on how you can manage your risk, contact us at risk@auma.ca. Our comprehensive risk management program is tailored to meet the needs of our membership. By providing the foundation, knowledge and tools needed to navigate exposure areas, we assist our clients to reduce the frequency and cost of claims that arise.

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