West Virginia workers who toil outside in wintry weather conditions face dangerous risks that their indoor colleagues avoid. But for many who work on the gas pipelines or on highway safety crews, the cold and inclement weather is just another day at their outdoor “offices.”
If you are one of those hardy workers, the following tips might save you some injuries and pain as you work outdoors this winter.
Protect your feet from the elements
Trying to walk up an ice-covered hill in shoes without treads is an exercise in futility. Make sure you wear properly fitting boots with a tread that will give you better traction. You can also use plastic liners to wrap your feet in to help keep moisture from penetrating your skin.
Don’t let your guard down once you are inside, either. Entrances can become slick spots from melting snow and ice and take down the unwary.
Learn to fall safely
Do you ever wonder how movie stuntmen and women can get up and walk away from bad falls? They have been taught how to fall correctly to minimize the risk they face. If a fall is inevitable, try to make your body go limp. Don’t try to break your fall with your hands and arms, as the bones are likely to snap. Protect your facial area with your forearms up to avoid damage to the head and face.
Take warming breaks to avoid hypothermia
Your employer should provide a warming area where workers can periodically warm themselves from the frigid cold weather. Employers should follow the Work/Warm-Up schedule developed by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) and promoted by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).
After an injury, you may need help
Not all employers are quick to pay out legitimate workers’ compensation claims. Retaining an aggressive legal firm on your side to fight for justice could be necessary to prevail.