With the change of seasons comes rising temperatures and animals emerging after a long winter’s rest. While these aspects of spring bring joy to all, spring also heralds inclement weather that can create unforeseen hazards in the workplace. Here are ten key safety tips to keep you and your entire team safe at work this spring.
PPE Keeps You Working Safely
When the weather heats up, it can be tempting to skip out on gloves, eye protection, ear protection, shirts, and shoes. But with inclement weather putting workers at greater risk than ever, it is important to properly protect yourself and save the sunbathing for your summer vacation.
Watch Out For Wet Surfaces
Most regions of the US in March 2022 received above-average precipitation, and it is safe to assume that precipitation will likely increase again this year. The presence of water on the ground can prove incredibly dangerous, especially for outdoor work sites. Take special care to assess all surfaces and move slowly while working outside to prevent any slips, trips, or falls. 18% of work-related injuries that led to time away from work in 2020 were the result of slips, trips, and falls, and wet surfaces only put you and your team more at risk.
If You Nearly Slip, Report Your Near Miss
A near miss is an incident that could have resulted in an accident or serious injury but did not. While you may be wary to report near misses out of fear of being branded a “tattle-tale” or “snitch” by your employer or coworkers, reporting near misses could save someone a debilitating injury, and in extreme cases, someone’s life. Reporting near misses to OSHA keeps team members safe, as fewer near misses mean fewer accidents, and in turn less potential for injuries.
Bug Spray Keeps Pests At Bay
While spotting birds and bunnies after winter’s long hibernation is a joyous spring occurrence, welcoming back pesky insects is not. All manner of bugs come out from March well into summer due to the increased sunlight and higher temperatures. While most insects are more irritating than life-threatening, ticks begin to breed in March, which tick season peaking in May. Though tick bites are generally rare, they are more common for those working outdoors and could lead to Lyme disease. Participating in the regular practices of applying bug repellent and checking regularly for ticks while working outside will keep you and your team safe from becoming bug bait.
Before Lightning Strikes, Turn In For The Night
Though this title and the classic phrase “when thunder roars, go indoors,” are memorable and fun to say, inclement weather is no laughing matter. Beyond thunderstorms, spring weather brings hurricanes, floods, and tornados. These extreme weather conditions are not safe to work in, and it is imperative that you and all members of your team are aware of company protocols should one or more of these extreme weathers occur.
Have A Dry Safe Place Nearby
When tornados, severe thunderstorms, hurricanes, floods, or other “code red” weather occurs, you and your team must have a dry place nearby to retreat to, as well as a plan to get there. Regularly review this location and your evacuation plan with your team to stay prepared in the event of an emergency.
Take Care Moving Heavy Things From Here to There
With inclement weather increasing precipitation and changing the terrain of outdoor spaces, moving heavy objects becomes a more dangerous task than ever before due to the added risk of slips and falls. Carefully access the area surrounding a heavy object for mud, water, and debris as well as the area the heavy object will be moved to before executing the task.
Have A Fire Plan
The risk of fire exists year-round, and warmer weather increases the risk of fire hazards. Spring is an excellent time to take inventory of your current fire evacuation plan, test smoke detectors, and bring fire extinguisher placement up to OSHA standards. Other ways to stop fires before they start include limiting trash build-up left out in the sun, using a flashlight as a lighting source as opposed to a pilot light, and storing gasoline safely.
Storm Grows? Drive Slow
Motor vehicle accidents are a risk for workers year-round. Spring brings slick and unpredictable weather as well as worker fatigue. With these added risks, workers need to remain alert while driving and take time getting to and from work to avoid accidents.
Ladder Safety Matters
Similarly to the issues presented with moving heavy objects in rainy spring weather, ladders run the risk of wet rungs or sinking into the muddy soil. Regularly wipe down ladders if working in rainy conditions, and check the ground is solid before placing a ladder to keep it from sinking or falling.