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Winter hazards in the manufacturing industry

Posted by admin on February 15, 2017
Quiet avenue of trees after a snowstorm An aspect of winter more agreeable to many than what they often see on newscasts

As parts of the country recently experienced severe winter conditions, it's important to highlight  four specific cold-weather hazards facing the manufacturing industry. Many manufacturers around the country work hard to protect their workers from harm, yet winter can be especially problematic, especially if harsh conditions unfold sooner than previously expected.  For more on general manufacturing hazards, check out our popular top five hazards in manufacturing blog post.

1.  Vehicle Safety in Cold Weather

The first major winter hazard for many manufacturers is vehicle safety. Employers should equip company vehicles with snow tires with proper tread and de-icing windshield washer fluid. Additionally, it may be best to perform a preventive maintenance check before letting employees take the wheel.

2.  Icy sidewalks or walkways

Other hazards include icy sidewalks or walkways, which could led to slip, trip or fall injuries.  Slip, trips, and falls account for the majority of general industry incidents.   Employers should take care to clear walkways as soon as safely possible and make sure applicable supplies such as salt, scrapers, shovels etc are available and in good condition prior to winter.   Employees should walk slowly and carefully on surfaces open to the winter elements and wear appropriate foot wear.  

3.  Winter clothing

Employers shouldn't underestimate the effects of cold weather itself if workers operate out of doors and bulky clothing worn by employees can limit the range of motion of the employee when operating heavy machinery.  Employers should make sure employees have proper training on PPE and that all machines include proper machine guarding.  Where possible employers should make sure manufacturing areas are heated appropriately eliminating the need for extra layers of clothing and/or ill fitting PPE.

4.  Communications

Employers and Employees should be up to date on communications and procedures during winter snow emergencies.   Your location should have an update to emergency management plan and provide procedures for  snow and other emergencies. Employees should be notified in a systematic way when a snow emergency occurs including if and when operations are suspended due to weather conditions.

To learn more about how to record, track, and prevent workplace hazards, contact IndustrySafe today!

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