Written by Jade Cave, Occupational Health Trainer Manager
When working during the winter months, drivers face many risks. Some cold-weather dangers are obvious, but others are harder to see. Sometimes you might not even think it’s cold, but a cold-weather injury can still harm you. Some winter weather risks are hypothermia, slips and falls, and strains and sprains.
Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature falls below 95 degrees. Dressing accordingly when the temperatures drop is one way to prevent this. This includes:
- Wearing gloves
- Wearing proper headgear
- Changing your socks when they get wet
- Bringing extra clothing and blankets with you on the road
Slips & Falls
During the winter of 2018-2019, we had over 20 slips and falls in DTI. Three of those falls became OSHA Recordable Injuries, needing medical treatment beyond first aid. Only one employee was wearing spare spikes. Almost all drivers owned a pair of spare spikes but did not have them on.
If you do not own a pair of extra spikes, they are available in the DTI offices and many of the gate stations. Please get a pair. They are perfect to wear while at work or home. They are very easy to put on your shoes and can fit any shoe type.
To remind yourself to wear them, keep your spikes in a convenient location in the cab of your truck, such as the side pocket on the driver door. Please be aware of your surroundings as a slip and fall can lead to a severe injury.
Strains & Sprains
Cold weather can also lead to an increase in sprains and strains.
Muscle flexibility decreases, and blood supply to the extremities is also reduced. To prevent sprains and strains, do a 10– to 15-minute warm-up or stretching routine before activity. You also want to drink plenty of fluids, eat a balanced diet, and stop the activity if you feel an increase in pain, get tired, or feel short of breath. When shoveling snow or doing other work outside, know your limits. Take a break when needed!