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From Good to Great: A Guide to Safety Measures When Working Outdoors

Every Industry worker is exposed to harsh weather conditions while working outdoors, but there are some preventive measures they can take to avoid damage. Read more in the blog.

 

Employees who work outdoors face a bigger risk of contracting injuries or illnesses compared to their indoor working colleagues. Whether it’s in the summer or winter, there are several risks in place that can cause trouble to not just the worker’s productivity levels but also their overall health. Below is a proper guide to safety measures that should be taken when it comes to working outdoors, as stated by OSHA.

Working Outdoors in Warm Climates

Sun

Sunlight, especially after 10 am, consists of ultraviolet (UV) rays that can be damaging to the skin and also pose the riof causcausing usen cancer, premature aging, wrinkles, and cataracts. There’s no such thing known as safe UV rays or suntans. You need to be extra careful if your skin is prone to easy burns or your skin fits any of the following criteria: freckles, irregular or large moles, fair skin, or you have blond, red, or light brown hair. A guide to how you can protect yourself from UV rays is given below:

  • Ensure your clothing is appropriate i.e. loose-fitted. To save yourself from harmful UV rays, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. To save your head, ear, nose, and scalp wear a hat that has wide brims, not a baseball cap.
  • Use sunscreen with proper SPF for your skin. Read the usage directions given on the tube/bottle. It doesn’t matter if the bottle says the sunscreen is water-resistant, it can still wear off. So re-apply after every few hours for maximum protection.
  • Wear UV-absorbent sunglasses. They don’t need to be expensive, just appropriate for blocking about 99% of UVA and UVB radiation.
  • Limit exposure during the most aggressive sunlight hours i.e. 10 am to 4 pm.

Heat

Even if you protect yourself from UV rays doesn’t mean you’re safe from the warm and humid climate during the summer, especially if you work in a farm, laundromat, bakery, kitchen, or at a construction site. Following are some preventive measures:

  • Stay hydrated.
  • Wear loose-fitted and light fabric and light-colored clothes. Cotton should be good in this regard.
  • Eat small meals before a task.
  • Take frequent short breaks in a cool shade.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sugar.
  • If you have any prescribed medications, check whether they’re appropriate to take during the heat.
  • Physical exertion needs to be reduced during warm and humid weather conditions. Limit overexertion from one worker by assigning a task to multiple workers, etc.
  • Watch for signs of heatstroke, i.e. headache, confusion, lightheadedness, irrational behaviors, hot and dry skin, abnormally high body temperature, and loss of consciousness.
  • For those working in high energy levels, monitor those who are at risk of heat stress, i.e. those with impermeable or semi-permeable clothing, when temperatures exceed 40C.

Working Outdoors in Cold Climates

Frostbite

Frostbite is the freezing of the tissues and skin. It can cause permanent damage to the body and may even lead to amputation in severe conditions. The risk is high for people with reduced blood circulation and those not dressed properly for cold temperatures. Following are some preventive measures:

  • Protect the affected area e.g. tie it with a loose-dry cloth until professional help arrives.
  • Invest in wearing leather safety gloves to save your hands from frostbite.
  • Don’t try to warm the affected area on your own, because if it freezes again it can cause more tissue damage. Wait for professional help to warm the area by themselves.
  • Don’t rub the affected area as it can cause tissue damage.
  • Don’t apply snow or water to the affected area.
  • If the person is alert, provide them with warm, sweet drinks, but not alcohol.

Hypothermia

A person’s normal body temperature is 37.2C, when this temperature falls below 35C, hypothermia occurs. Exposure to cold temperatures causes the body to lose heat faster than letting it get produced. This can eventually use up all the body’s energy and lead to abnormally low body temperature causing hypothermia. The condition can even occur if a person is chilled due to rain, sweat, etc. Following are some preventive measures:

  • Take the person to a warm, dry area.
  • Remove wet clothing and wrap the entire body with warm blankets. Do not cover the face.
  • Call 911 in an emergency.
  • If professional help is more than half an hour away:
    • If the person is awake, provide them with warm sweetened drinks, but not alcohol. Never try to make an unconscious person drink.
    • Keep warm packs, or bottles on the side of the chest, in armpits, and near the groin area.

Trench Foot

Trench foot is the condition that occurs when the feet are exposed to prolonged wet conditions. This occurs because wet feet tend to lose heat 20 times faster than dry feet. The following are the preventive measures:

  • Remove wet shoes/socks immediately.
  • Dry the feet and avoid making them work.
  • Avoid walking.
  • In severe conditions, seek medical help.

Standard Preventive Measures for Working Outdoors

To sum it all up, you need to take a bunch of preventive measures to ensure the workers are safe. Following are some workplace safety awareness tips you can take to keep yourself safe.

  • Drink plenty of water when working in warm conditions. Make sure your workplace provides for you to take regular breaks to cool yourself off in the shade.
  • Wear proper, light-colored, and light-fitted clothes. Make sure your clothes are long-sleeved while working in sunlight. Use sunscreen regularly.
  • Know the environment you’re going to be working in and take measures beforehand.
  • Take professional medical help in case of severe conditions, whether in warm or cold climates.

It’s important to have the right kind of gear to protect yourself from harsh temperatures. Safety workwear like safety leather gloves etc should be provided by the factory, and every worker should get proper workplace safety awareness tips to know what they should do during harsh conditions. If you need to buy safety workwear, you can visit Elite Leather Creations for the right gear.

Written By

Kamil Riaz Kara is an SEO + Digital Marketing Specialist . He design complete digital strategies from SEO-friendly website design > SEM > SMM to SEO. Currently, associated with a digital marketing agency in Karachi named Digital Eggheads.

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