Safety and Sanitation: Keeping Outdoor Workers Safe During Winter

Worker outsideKeeping outdoor workers safe during winter is extremely important. Inexperienced workers may think it is okay to work with just a coat on, but supervisors and employees must be equally diligent about winter conditions. Seasoned workers know how to keep warm in extreme weather, but managers should consider advising all workers on how to stay safe and warm while working outdoors.

  • Thermal insulated coveralls are recommended, as they allow easy movement while largely eliminating core body heat loss. While coveralls can be a bit on the costly side, supervisors can consider the investment worthwhile, as it decreases the chances of having to stop a job due to an injury.
  • Helmet liners under a hard hat help to preserve head and neck heat. Fleece lined fabric is also a comfortable insulator. The hard hat breaks the wind and allows the liner to keep heat in. The longer the liner, the better the coverage.
  • If possible, workers should opt for gloves that allow them to use liners. The gloves will need to be slightly bigger in size, but the extra layer of liner insulation will do a better job keeping the worker comfortable while working.
  • Eye protection such as goggles protects the eyeballs from irritation, dry air, and wind. Glasses also provide a safety barrier from flying dust, hail, and loose materials.
  • Scarves allow an extra layer of protection around the neck and chest.
  • Double layer thermal socks and insulated boots can reduce the chances of heat escaping and cold air from entering around the body. Workers who must stand the majority of their day should try to stand on a mat, plywood, or another insulating barrier, if they will be outdoors for long stretches of time.
  • Using skin creams and barrier creams on exposed skin can reduce the chances of hypothermia and frostbite.

In addition to checking on the condition of workers when it comes to extreme weather conditions, managers should consider purchasing a propane heater for outdoor jobsites from For smaller outdoor sites, a 35,000-65,000 BTU DeWALT propane heater is also available. The latter option works with a minimum 20-pound propane tank size. Both options reduce coldness and increase comfort for outdoor workers.