Safety at Work

Cold Weather Workers Safety Guide

Dress warmly - be prepared


  • Wear cotton or polypropylene long underwear for all-over warmth
  • Wear multiple layers of light, loose fitting clothes. Air between the layers provides warmth. Outerwear should be waterproof.
  • Wear cold weather clothing or arctic clothing that is appropriate for the outdoor temperature range and the type of activity.
  • Wear a warm hat with ear protection to prevent heat loss from the head. A wool knit cap provides the best protection. As much as 40% of body heat can be lost from an uncovered head.
  • Use an appropriate hard hat liner to reduce heat loss when wearing a hard hat.
  • Wear woolen socks to protect your ankles and feet.
  • Carry an extra pair where moisture or sweat is likely
  • Change when needed
  • Wear slip-resistant, insulated safety footwear. For heavy work, a felt-lined rubber bottomed, leather-topped boot with a removable felt insole is preferred.
  • Keep an extra pair of safety shoes for inside work
  • Protect your vision from UV rays by wearing appropriate sun-glasses while working in snow and ice on a bright day.
  • Keep snow and water out of your footwear.
  • Use suspenders. Tight belts can constrict blood circulation
  • Wear a scarf or facemask while working in cold wind.


  • Do not wear dirty and oily clothing. Such clothing looses much of its insulation value
  • Do not wear gloves or scarves that can get caught in moving parts of the machinery

Working safely on snow and ice

In winter, there is a lot of shoveling, lifting, scarping, pushing and pulling.

It pays to learn to do these jobs safely without hurting your back.

Slips and falls

  • Take small steps to improve traction
  • Walk slowly on slippery, icy surfaces to prevent danger of slipping. Stop occasionally to break the momentum.
  • Use approved snow removal compounds
  • Avoid sand around entrances where it can be tracked inside and require additional cleaning and possibly cause a slip or fall.
  • Use entrance mats at entrances to prevent slippery conditions indoors caused by melting snow or ice.
  • USE correct ladder techniques while removing snow from roofs. Watch out for slippery conditions on rungs.
  • STAY out of the way where icicles may drop on you like spears.
  • PROTECT others from falling icicles by erecting barrier.

Winter driving techniques

  • CHECK traction regularly. Slow down or stop driving if conditions deteriorate.
  • BE PREPARED TO STOP. Maneuvering may be difficult.
  • KEEP a safe following distance to allow you to brake on icy and slushy roads.
  • KEEP your windshield, windows and mirrors clear and clean. Glare from snow and ice can blind you.
  • WATCH for pedestrians. People 'bundled up' in parkas tend to have very poor side vision. Use warning signals and signs.
  • PERFORM routine 'circle checks' before operating any vehicle.

Safe shoveling

  • Shoveling requires intense physical effort. You can burn up to 600 calories an hour shoveling snow. By shoveling the wrong way, you may end up with an aching back, or worse. The following makes snow shoveling easy and safe.
  • CLEAR snow as soon as possible. Fresh snow is lighter than wet or packed snow.
  • USE the right shovels for the jobs; pushers for pushing and throwers for throwing.
  • WATCH for small obstacles while shoveling
  • KEEP ice chippers in good condition.
  • PUSH to the side rather than lifting and throwing
  • NEVER OVERLOAD your shovel
  • STEP forward when you load your shovel.
  • BEND your knees and keep your back straight to prevent pressure on your lower back.
  • DO NOT OVEREXERT yourself. Shoveling can raise your heart rate and blood pressure to a dangerous point very quickly.
  • TAKE a break when you feel tired.
  • LEARN how to use snow removal equipment effectively and safely.
  • MAKE sure your equipment is in good running condition
  • FOLLOW electrical safety rules for electrically powered snow removal equipment.
  • NEVER LEAVE a snow blower running while taking a rest break
  • CHECK and MAINTAIN built-in safety features of the snow blower frequently.

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