December 21, 2022

Safety Precautions for Winter Weather

With rain, snow, and frigid temperatures forecasted for Kentucky in the coming days, cities are encouraged to stay safe, anticipate potential unsafe conditions, and remain vigilant by utilizing safe work practices.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends the following for staying safe in extreme cold:

  • Know the symptoms of cold stress; reddening skin, tingling, pain, swelling, leg cramps, numbness, and blisters.
  • Dress properly; wear at least three layers of loose-fitting clothing, insulated gloves and boots, and cover your head.
  • Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers.
  • Stay dry and pack extra clothes; moisture can increase heat loss from the body.
  • Take frequent breaks in warm, dry areas.
  • Drink warm liquids.

Injuries due to slips and falls become more prevalent during inclement weather. KLC encourages everyone to utilize the following safe work practices:

  • Use appropriate footwear that provides adequate traction. A slip occurs when there is too little friction between your footwear and the walking surface, so proper footwear rather than dress shoes is critical to prevent these injuries. Traction devices or non-slip shoe appliances are available in the marketplace that significantly improve contact with the walking surface.
  • Walk cautiously, shorten your stride, and walk slowly.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings and know your working conditions.
  • Immediately clean up spills and leaks.
  • Report hazardous conditions to a manager or supervisor.
  • Ensure lighting conditions are appropriate for the work area.
  • Use handrails on stairways where available.
  • Law enforcement personnel should review their department’s pursuit policy to prevent injuries during foot pursuits.
  • Avoid downed power lines caused by ice accumulation.

Vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of work-related injuries to KLC-insured members. Hazardous road conditions involving snow and ice significantly increase this risk; therefore, the use of vehicles should be avoided when possible. If vehicle use is required, please use appropriate safe operating precautions, including:

  • Significantly increase your following distance to at least 6 seconds.
  • Drive slowly to account for lower traction. Do not make sudden movements.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Focus on driving; do not become distracted by cell phones, radios, or other visual, cognitive, or manual distractions.
  • Do not use cruise control.
  • Check your wiper blades and windshield washer fluid.
  • Conduct a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle, including tire pressure and lights.

Your safety and the safety of those you serve constitute our Loss Control mission. For additional information regarding defensive driving techniques, check out the KLC video gallery or contact your Loss Control representative. OSHA also provides detailed safety information regarding winter weather hazards.