As one of our New Jersey readers, you know that the winter months are sure to bring cold temperatures and snow to the area. While this can be enjoyable on many fronts, it's not always easy to work outdoors when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Fortunately, there are a variety of steps you can take to maintain your safety when working outdoors in cold weather. Here are several things you can't forget:
- Plan in advance: If you know the weather will be cold, plan your day in advance with respect to what you'll wear and how you'll tackle the task at hand.
- Overdress: You can always take clothes off, but you can't put any on if they're not available. Overdressing allows you to remove clothes as necessary, and put items back on should you begin to get cold again.
- Stay hydrated: You can sweat just as much in cold weather as you do in the summer heat. Maintain proper hydration throughout the day by drinking as much water as possible. Also, avoid beverages that can dehydrate you, such as coffee and alcohol.
- Remove wet clothes: If your clothes become wet for any reason, such as rain or sweat, remove and replace them immediately. Working in wet clothes increases the risk of illness.
- Take regular breaks: As necessary, seek shelter in a warm location. For example, you could go indoors every three to four hours to warm up and ensure that you're feeling okay. Don't push the limit because you want to get the job done. Your health and well-being should always come first.
Even if you're looking forward to cooler weather, it doesn't mean you can take a "lazy approach" to your health. It only takes one mistake in extreme conditions to result in an illness or injury that can impact you for the rest of your life.
If you suffer any type of cold-related illness or injury on the job, seek immediate medical attention. Also, report the incident to your employer, as you want them to know what went wrong and how to better protect others.
As you recover, you may come to find that you qualify for workers' compensation benefits. This money can give you peace of mind as you recover with the idea of eventually returning to work.