Working outdoors involves challenges in safety both under normal conditions and in situations where inclement weather leads to potential safety problems. In situations where dangerous weather limits the safety of outdoor workers, employees need to be aware of certain factors that can improve their overall safety and reduce the instances of potentially fatal accidents. This article will highlight some of the concerns that outdoors employees should consider when working in potentially dangerous weather.
Being Aware of the Elements
Knowledge of the elements and weather forecasts is an essential part of the preparation process of working in these conditions. An employer who communicates the weather to employees, particularly in dangerous situations regarding dangerous weather patterns such as hurricanes, can improve overall awareness and reduce the potential for an accident. While the onus is often placed on companies to make sure that outdoor workers are properly informed of weather conditions and how to react to them, educating employees on identifying potentially unsafe situations can help to avoid accidents that can be costly to both employers and employees.
Using Proper Equipment
Safety equipment is an essential part of staying safe in dangerous weather, particularly for construction workers who handle heavy equipment outdoors. It is crucial to wear proper safety equipment such as hard hats and vests that alert drivers of employee's presence outdoors. In addition, wearing uniforms including boots that properly ground electrical charges can reduce the instance of electrical accidents. Understanding the safety mechanisms in this equipment is the other part of the equation. While some machinery can be used in inclement and dangerous weather, some are off bounds during these situations. Understanding the equipment that you are using and when it is off limits is an essential part of being prepared and safe when working outdoors.
Undergoing Proper Training
Training is a necessary part of working outdoors in potentially unsafe weather, particularly when using heavy equipment or machinery. When offering training programs to employees employers should be aware that outdoors workers need to be aware of the different protection mechanisms that are available on the device and what can and cannot be done when operating equipment in dangerous weather. There are two parts to these training programs; compliance with the underlying safety procedures that are required by employees and additional training programs that can increase the awareness to employees of these safety programs. Offering training programs that provide knowledge to employees of the importance of adhering to safety protocols can help to improve safety and is part of providing everything needed to employees to stay safe.
While training programs and other safety steps are helpful, organizations are only protected when the existence of these programs are documented. Having a program that tracks the training employees receive in regards to safety while working outdoors can reduce the risk of a lawsuit if an accident were to happen. Third-party consultants like eCompliance can not only provide training but also offer software tracking programs that monitor compliance with these programs which provide further protection to employers from lawsuit. Using a fully accredited third-party consultant can also reduce the risk of litigation from employees who are injured outdoors and can provide more advanced and sophisticated training that management of a company may not be aware of.
Despite steps taken by employers and employees, accidents can happen at any time. The rate of incidence can be sharply reduced, however, by adhering to the aforementioned recommendations. Obviously, safety in dangerous weather is a primary concern for both employees and employers and should be addressed formally by employees with appropriate policies and procedures that address these safety concerns. Even though many of these training programs and compliance with safety programs have initial costs associated with them, they often provide benefits over the long term with cost savings by lower workers' compensation premiums and lower litigation cost. For employees, adhering to safety protocols reduces the chance of an accident from hazardous weather and helps to ensure an overall healthier lifestyle.
Oscar King is a health and safety coordinator living in Florida. When not on the job, he spends some of his free time writing about common health and safety factors that are overlooked on the job. You can find more examples of his work by visiting Google+.