Potential risks in the workplace may worsen if rainy and windy. The rain can contribute to slippery surfaces and reduced visibility. Heavy machinery is often more dangerous to use, particularly when heavy loads are transferred.
Outdoor workers in cold weather must defend themselves from cold tension. Stress from the cold results in freezing, hypothermia, and trench foot. OSHA states that cold stress not only comes from being outside in freezing temperatures but from exposure to rain and wind in the 50-degree Fahrenheit range. While employees are encouraged to use raingear, employers have no obligation to pay for them.
To ensure the safety and wellbeing of your workers, especially before expected storms, take these steps with them:
- Walk carefully – While employees may want to hurry to avoid getting soaked, particularly on slippery surfaces, this can be hazardous. They must walk slowly and intentionally.
- Work in bright lighting – Employees should ensure adequate lighting while working at night, and the lights are made for outdoor use. Employees need to make sure their electrical tools and equipment are rated specifically for outdoor use. In addition, textured, no-slip grips and handles must be features of these tools.
- Wear proper rain gear and footwear – Allow employees to wear rain gear including rain trousers and a raincoat. The right clothes are ventilated to help the staff feel comfortable. If it’s chilly and humid, they’re still expected to wear wool or synthetic fabrics that can stay warm even when damp. Employees should wear gloves with a sticky grip. Gloves must fit and be long enough to keep water from going into a jacket sleeve. Employees can wear thick tread footwear that will lower the chances of sliding.
- Keep vision and traffic clear – Visibility lessens as it rains and drivers may not see correctly. Anti-fogging spray should be applied to glasses if needed. Encourage employees to wear a hat but advise them to not wear headgear that narrows their vision. Employees should use high-visibility clothing, especially in areas of heavy traffic and heavy machinery. Don’t wear rain gear that has become dull or no longer reflective.