NEWPORT, Ky. - With temperatures dipping into the teens, some employees are required to do their job outside regardless of what the weather is like.
Security officers at Newport on the Levee are just some of the employees who do their job in the coldest temperatures of the year. The facility has two security guards patrolling the Purple People Bridge from midnight to 8 a.m. On Friday and Saturday, there are up to eight security officers outside for a period of two hours at a time.
There are many methods to protect your employees from the cold, including protective clothing, engineering controls and common safe work practices. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration distributes a free "Cold Stress Card" with tips on handling cold weather. Some tips include:
- recognize environmental and workplace conditions that can be dangerous
- learn the signs and symptoms of cold-induced illnesses/injuries and what to do to help workers
- train workers about cold-induced illnesses and injuries
- encourage workers to wear proper clothing for cold, wet, and windy conditions including layers so they can adjust to changing conditions
- be sure that workers take frequent short breaks in warm dry shelters to allow the body to warm up
- try to schedule work for the warmest part of the day
- avoid exhaustion or fatigue because energy is needed to keep muscles warm
- use the buddy system – work in pairs so that one worker can recognize danger signs
- drink warm, sweet beverages (sugar water, sports-type drinks) and avoid drinks with caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas, or hot chocolate) or alcohol
- eat warm, high-calorie foods such as hot pasta dishes
Free copies of OSHA's Cold Stress Card may be obtained through OSHA's website or by calling 1-800-321-0SHA. The card is available in both English and Spanish.
Employees should watch for the symptoms including uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, clumsy movements, fatigue and confused behavior. If the employee observes the danger signs, emergency help should be called.
Certain workers face increased risk because of numerous factors including age, medications, poor physical condition or an illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular disease.
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