Ensuring the Health and Safety of Workers in Extreme Weather Conditions

While the overall number of workplace injuries and illnesses in Montana fell last year, certain outdoor industries experienced much higher incident rates than other professional sectors. Manual laborers on construction sites face particular risks from operating heavy machinery, working on uneven terrain and falling from heights. However, all employees working outside are exposed to additional types of hazards depending on the season, the length of time they spend outdoors and their particular area of work. Extreme temperatures can be particularly dangerous to health, and it’s important for staff and employers to be aware of the illnesses and injuries that can be caused by working in the oppressive summer heat or freezing cold weather in the winter. By providing appropriate protective work attire and ensuring workers take frequent breaks, heightened health and safety risks in severe weather conditions can be mitigated. There are also many benefits of joining an SSIP Accreditation scheme as this accreditation can save you time, money and help demonstrate that you’re a safe organization.. However, you may want to know here the differences between CHAS, SafeContractor and SSIP for your preferences!

Dealing with the Hazards of Working in Wintry Conditions

Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their staff no matter where they are working. Any accident or injury occurring in the work environment is considered to be work-related and could lead to a claim for compensation with the help of a Workers Compensation Claim Attorney. Common outdoor work settings include construction sites or agricultural fields, but postal workers or first responders are also often exposed to the elements for long periods of time during their working hours.  Winters in Montana can be harsh, and freezing temperatures together with 40 inches of snowfall every year mean that working outdoors in winter can be challenging. As well as increasing the risk of trips and falls on icy surfaces, very cold weather can cause a range of physical conditions including frostbite and hypothermia. Proper winter clothing and protective equipment can shield workers from the cold and snow, while taking regular breaks for warm drinks will protect them from cold stress. Where possible, employers should consider rescheduling outdoor maintenance work for warmer months or at least reducing the physical demands made on workers.

Keeping Outdoor Workers Safe in Oppressive Heat

This summer, temperatures reached a record-breaking high of 103 degrees in Missoula.  For anyone employed on a construction site or at one of the 567 farms registered in Missoula county, such high temperatures can create hazardous working conditions. Working in extreme heat can lead to sunburn, heat stroke or exhaustion, and older workers or those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of heat stress. When the temperature rises in Missoula, construction workers take care to stay hydrated during long shifts.  As well as drinking plenty of fluids, The CDC also recommends other strategies that employers and workers can use to protect themselves from heat-related illnesses. These include wearing loose fitting and lightweight clothing, regularly applying sunscreen and taking frequent rest breaks in areas of shade.

Work-related accidents, injuries and illnesses can occur in any workplace environment, but employees who labor outdoors for long periods of time are exposed to additional risks, often related to extreme weather conditions. Workers can protect themselves by wearing appropriate protective clothing, taking adequate breaks from the heat or cold and staying well hydrated no matter what the weather.