Not every climate experiences winter in quite the same way. While some workers are forced to deal with snow and ice, others instead are treated to long months of low light, fog and driving rain. Depending upon the details of a region’s topography and weather history, for risk managers winter can often mean planning for a protracted period of wet conditions.
Of all the hazards faced by workers on the job, one of the most insidious is noise pollution. Damage to an employee’s hearing can be so gradual that by the time it has been detected, either by a standard medical exam or by the individual who notices a drop off in their auditory acuity, it is often too late to mitigate the loss. Hearing loss is cumulative, and it is irreparable. This harsh reality makes it important for risk managers to take steps to protect the hearing of their workers right from the day they first set foot onto the job site.
Forestry and logging represent some of the most difficult safety challenges of any industry. From a risk manager’s perspective, many of the different hazards associated with heights, heavy machinery, power tools and motorized vehicles are amplified by the fact that workers are asked to constantly adapt themselves to new outdoor environments that are much harder to control in terms of risk mitigation.
Although the revised fall prevention guidelines issued by OSHA with regards to steel erection and the construction of new buildings are of course helpful, when creating a full fall protection program, the installation of netting and flooring is only part of the total effort that should be made.
Not all construction takes place within the relatively safe confines of a building job site. Some of the most dangerous construction jobs are found on America’s highways, where speeding cars, the dark of night and inclement weather all combine together to create one of the most challenging and hazardous work environments in the country.
With colder weather on the horizon in many states, and with some northern climates already in the grip of temperatures bordering on uncomfortable, it is once again time to consider the ergonomic and safety implications of outdoor work during the winter season.