Cold Weather Guidelines
- Be aware of the environmental conditions and the expected forecast for the day that could present problems.
- Identify signs and symptom of cold-related illness and injuries.
- Train workers about weather injuries and how to protect themselves.
- Provide or encourage construction workers to wear appropriate clothing, including layers that could be adjusted to various weather conditions.
- Provide short breaks in warm environments for workers to warm up their bodies, or to dry their clothes.
- Schedule work for the warmest part of the day. Moving the daily work hours to hottest hours or when the sun is at its maximum exposure.
- Try to assign works to at least a pair of co-workers so that individual can be aware of the other’s status.
- Avoid drinks with caffeine. It is recommended to replenish your body with sugar water, or regular sports drinks.
- Follow medical recommendations if you are under medical advice or taking any other prescribed medicine.
Required Clothing and Layering
- Protective clothing is needed when work is expected to be executed at or below 4º C/40º F. Proper clothing should be selected to suit temperature, conditions, duration of the activity and location where the job will take place.
- When possible wear multiple layers instead of a single layer.
- The inner layer must provide insulation and be able to repel moisture from the skin.
- Polyester thermal underwear is recommended.
- External layers should be easily detachable.
- The outer layer must be waterproof.
- If possible, a wool cap or a liner under a hard hat can reduce excessive heat loss.
- Remove snow before entering a warm shelter.
- Gloves should be used when the temperature is below 4º C/40º F and mittens should be for work below -17º C/2º F.
- Avoid cotton cloth because it tends to get damp or wet.
Workers in cold weather also need to wear proper footwear protection. When the work involves walking in water, waterproof boots must be worn. Leather boots can be treated and waterproofed with special products that do not block the pores in the boot surface. The best-suited shoes are leather-topped boots with removable felt insoles.
Wearing one or two pairs of thick socks is recommended if you want to protect your shoes. Having extra socks are preferred because socks tend to get damp during the day. The outer sock should be a larger size than the inner sock, to avoid extra compression.
Equipment Design and Tools
Extra caution can also be implemented on metal handlebars and tools that must be operated in cold weather. Metal handles and bars should be covered by thermal-insulating material. Machines, tools, and equipment, in general, must be designed so they can be operated with a proper grip using mittens or gloves.