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Winter weather safety tips

With Madison’s first snowfall occurring on October 29th and average temperatures ranging from 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit, it appears that winter is upon us. The winter season can be a fun time of the year, but it also brings many hazards. Hazards associated with winter are typically caused by the extreme cold and slippery surfaces resulting from snow and ice.

A common hazard of the cold temperature is cold stress. The causes of cold stress can vary in different regions of the country; however, cold stress essentially occurs by driving down skin temperature and eventually the body’s internal temperature. As a result, cold-related illnesses and injuries may occur when the body is unable to warm itself. Types of cold stress include immersion/trench foot, frostbite, and hypothermia.

To help prevent cold stress related illnesses:

  • Continuously monitor your physical condition when working in cold temperatures.
  • Wear appropriate winter weather clothing.
  • In extremely cold or wet weather, be sure to protect the ears, face, hands and feet.
  • Move into warm locations when possible and during breaks.
  • Try to avoid touching cold metal surfaces with bare skin.

In addition to cold stress slips, trips, and falls are hazards also associated with winter weather. According to the Department of Administration Bureau of State Risk Management slips, trips, and falls are one of the leading causes of injuries in the State of Wisconsin. Below are some tips that can be utilized to help prevent slips, trips, and falls:

  • Wear appropriate footwear with good traction.
  • Be sure to give yourself enough time to safely reach your destination.
  • Limit what you carry to provide better balance.
  • Utilize designated walkways.
  • When walking on steps, always use hand railings and plant feet firmly on each step.
  • Watch out for black ice, especially early in the morning and in shaded areas.
  • Take short steps and walk at a slower pace.
  • Report any unsafe conditions to UW Grounds Maintenance.

For additional information on winter weather safety, visit the article source links copied below.

Article Sources:

https://doa.wi.gov/DEO/Slip%2c%20Trip%20and%20Fall%20Prevention%20Manual.pdf

https://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/winter_weather/windchill.html

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2010-115/pdfs/2010-115.pdf