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Protecting Against Winter Weather Hazards, Storm Threats


Encountering weather hazards is unavoidable in many parts of the country, making planning for a winter storm and protectings your works from cold stress critical.

Protecting Against Cold Hazards

Whether working outdoors or not, people in some U.S.regions will have to brace the cold this winter.  Working in cold environments, especially for extended periods, can lead to cold-stress problems such as frostbite, hypothermia, and trench foot.

When working in cold environments, please keep in mind the following:

  Wearing at least three layers of clothing, constituting an inner layer of wool, silk or synthetic, to wick moisture away from the body; a middle layer of wool or synthetic, to provide insulation when wet; an outer wind-and-rain protection layer that allows some ventilation to prevent overheating.
  Donning a hat or hood.  Up to 40 percent of body heat can be lost when the head is left exposed.
  Wearing insulated boots or other footwear.
  Keeping a change of dry clothing available in case work clothes become wet.
  With the exception of the wicking layer, do not wear tight clothing.  Loose material allows better ventilation to keep heat away from the body.
  Do not underestimate the wetting effects of perspiration.  Oftentimes, wicking away and venting sweat and heat are more important than protecting the body from rain or snow, OSHA said.
  Drink plenty of liquids but avoid caffeine and alcohol.