Keep Warm While Working Outdoors

Follow these tips to protect yourself from cold weather risks

January 10, 2019

Although facility managers and workers spend a good deal of their day indoors, there are snow removal and building maintenance tasks that often take them outside. Working outside for long periods of time in the winter brings risks of frostbite, hypothermia, and other dangers.

Follow these tips from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect yourself while working outdoors in cold weather:

  • Stay warm by wearing several layers of loose clothing. Several layers provide better insulation than wearing one heavy clothing item.
  • Make sure your cold weather gear does not restrict your movement or block your eyesight.
  • Limit your time outdoors. Take regular breaks inside sheltered or heated areas.
  • Try to schedule outdoor jobs during the warmest time of the day, such as midafternoon.
  • Watch for early symptoms of hypothermia, such as shivering, feeling tired, loss of coordination, and confusion. If you ignore these symptoms and your body loses more heat, the shivering will stop, your skin may turn blue, the pupils of your eye will dilate, your pulse and breathing will slow, and you will lose consciousness.
  • Your fingers, toes, nose, and ears are prone to frostbite. Warning signs include numbness or tingling, stinging, or pain. Wear insulated gloves and a warm hat or hood. A scarf or facemask is a good idea in especially cold temperatures or if you’re going to be outside for a long time
  • Feet that are wet and cold for a long period of time can develop trench food. Moisture causes your feet to lose heat, slows the blood flow, and leads to tissue damage. Choose waterproof shoes or boots that have good traction to protect you from falls on the ice.

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