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Winter brings a lot of joy to a lot of Canadians. However, the season is not without hazards, especially if you’re one of many Canadians who work outdoors, even when it’s cold and snowy. Even for those who work indoors, commuting is essential, and so is traversing icy parking lots and walkways to get to your cozy office. Practicing winter safety at work is the best way to enjoy and embrace the beauty that comes along with our harsh and cold Canadian winters.
- Slips, trips, and falls on slippery, icy, snowy, or wet surfaces
- Ergonomic injuries sustained while shovelling or clearing snow
- Motor vehicle accidents resulting from poor road conditions/visibility
- Injury and illness associated with extremely cold temperatures
- Risk of injury from falling ice or snow
- Drowning risk due to thin ice on bodies of water
Working in Extreme Temperatures
To stay safe at work through the winter, consider the following:
- Wear appropriate layers and PPE designed to protect you from the elements
- Stay hydrated
- Drink warm liquids throughout the day, avoiding dehydrating caffeinated drinks
- Take breaks to warm up in an area that is sheltered from the elements
- Protect the extremities – they get colder faster and are more prone to frostbite because they’re furthest from your core, which acts as your body’s warming centre
- Understand exposure limits
- Participate in Winter Safety Awareness training
Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls
Ontario Regulation 851, Section 11, sets out explicit responsibilities for employers when it comes to the prevention of slips and trips in the workplace:
“A floor or any other surface used by any worker shall be,
While the employer has the general duty and responsibility for safety, everybody in the workplace plays a role in slip and trip prevention. There are many ways to reduce slips and trips in the workplace during winter, such as:
- Ensuring that trip hazards are removed or corrected when they’re spotted, especially those which may become hidden under snow
- Reporting potential slip and trip hazards to supervisors
- Putting salt down on icy walkways
- Shovelling high-traffic areas and entryways frequently during snowfall
- Using signage to indicate wet floors, especially where snow is being tracked in
- Having a policy in place that supports a winter safety program and outlines all roles and responsibilities for shovelling, salting, and so on
Staying Safe on the Road
To stay safe on the roads this winter, consider the following:
- Snow tires make a huge difference when driving in ice and snow, and most insurance companies offer a discount if you have them
- Keep a car safety kit and non-perishable snacks in the truck in case you get stuck or leave the road and must wait for help
- Always keep the gas tank full so that you can run the car and heat if necessary while waiting for help
- Keep blankets in the trunk
- When conditions or visibility are poor, stay home unless travel is essential
- Have a mechanic check your car over before the first snowfall to ensure the battery, tires, wiper blades, and other elements are all in sound working order
- Keep a snow brush in your car and always clear away all snow from the sides and top before driving
- Take winter driving safety training
Not Sure Where to Start? BEST Safety Training Can Help
Like the calendar? Add your email to our mailing list to get one FREE, straight to your inbox, every month. Each month features a new topic, all designed to keep your workplace safe, healthy, and compliant.
We also have a handy Winter Safety Checklist you may want to check out!
BEST Safety Training offers a variety of online winter safety courses for your safety and convenience, so employees can safely participate in training while maintaining a safe and healthy physical distance. Titles include:
- Winter Driving Fundamentals
- Working and Driving in Extreme Cold
- Winter Safety Awareness Training
- Cold Stress Awareness
- And more!
To ask questions about our training programs or to book a consultation to help you develop an effective winter safety program, or review an existing one, contact us online or call 226.777.7385. Visit us 24/7 on the web at bestsafetytraining.ca.
See all onsite and virtual learning coming soon to your area!
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