Working outside can be rewarding for the person who can’t stand being behind a desk all day but it also presents its own set of hazards.
While working outside, there are a lot more variables that are difficult to control than when in an indoor environment. Plus, certain outdoor conditions can make normal work more difficult. For safety, make sure you have the right tools for the job and the proper precautions for certain outdoor work. There are several situations that can pose a threat:
- Weather creates a hazardous work environment.
- Extreme temperatures can put extra strain on workers.
- Heavy machinery and heavy lifting can be more difficult on unpaved, icy or wet terrain.
- Hazardous plants and animals can pose a threat to workers.
Hazardous Weather Protection
Weather can be one of the biggest obstacles for an outdoor worksite. Rain, snow and storms are all potential threats to safety if the proper safety measures aren’t put in place. There are several weather hazards that need special care:
- Rain can often be worked through but if it creates slippery conditions that can result in accidents postpone that work until later.
- Lightning is a serious threat to anyone who is outdoors. Carry a mobile lightning detector to determine if it is time to retreat indoors. If you don’t have one, move inside at the first sign of lightning or thunder. Strikes can happen from miles away. It is important to be indoors when it is in the area, especially if you work in an open area.
- Snow and ice can make regular work conditions more dangerous. Take safety precautions to limit danger.
Extreme Temperature Protection
Temperature is a prime example of something that is completely out of your control that you must adapt to on a worksite. Cold temperatures can mean icy conditions as well as a health threat for workers. It is important to make sure that employees wear layered clothing and stay covered up when necessary.
In hot seasons, there is a new set of problems. Workers who are not properly hydrated can suffer from heat stress and dehydration. Try to schedule hours of heavy labour around cooler times during the day. When working in the heat, schedule more frequent breaks and provide a source for cool drinking water.
Make sure you are familiar with basic temperature related precautions and safety before heading outdoors for a day of work.
Heavy Machinery and Equipment
In outdoor environments, regular work can be made more difficult. Especially when you are lifting, moving or operating heavy objects, unpaved or uneven ground can make working more problematic. When weather makes the ground icy or wet the problem increases. When lifting heavy objects make sure you have help and take it slowly. Use a sturdy stack truck or a trolley with large enough wheels to handle the terrain you are working on.
Although the UK is not known for having an abundance of deadly creatures lurking in bushes and under rocks, there are a few species that can do some damage. Wasps, bees, spiders and snakes all can be encountered outdoors so it is best to have a first aid kit on hand at all times. If a stuck or bitten worker is allergic or is showing signs of a reaction to a bite don’t hesitate to call an ambulance or take them to the hospital.