With the recent storms hitting the UK, we can safely say that Summer is behind us and that Autumn has rightfully claimed its place. While this might be nice for that odd Autumn stroll, the months ahead pose problems for workers who work outdoors. With darkness causing poor visibility and the rain causing slippery surfaces, these problems can be serious and even deadly if not taken into consideration. To reduce the risk of accidents and injuries while working in wet weather, here are some essential tips to ensure that employees are working as safe as they can.
Work Slowly and Carefully
While it might be a natural reaction to try and work quickly to get out of the rain, this is where you are more likely to make mistakes and injure yourself. The best thing to do is the exact opposite: work more slowly and deliberately so that the job is done safely and effectively.
Wear Appropriate Outdoor Clothing
You need to keep yourself as warm and dry as you can when working outside in Autumn, so make sure to wear the appropriate gear that fits you properly. If working outside on small jobs, gear that is made from wool or synthetic fibres will suffice to keep you warm. However, if you are undertaking work that means you will be in the wet weather for a prolonged period of time, you should consider in investing in proper rain gear. Waterproof and ventilated coat and pants or overalls would be ideal.
Appropriate outdoor clothing also extends to your hands, so make sure they are kept warm and that your tight-fitting gloves give you a secure grip on your tools even when they are wet. After all, your hands do the work so they should be a priority for you to protect!
Wear Specific Footwear
Footwear is an essential item to get right when working outdoors, so consider the conditions you may be working in as well as the type of work that you are doing. In wet and cold weather, you need to ensure that your footwear is durable with deep treads (that are not worn down) to help prevent slipping. Not only do you need boots that provide traction, but you also need to make sure that they extend above the ankle so that they will keep water out of the insides of the boots.
Always Ensure that You Can See and that You Can Be Seen
Poor visibility is a real problem in the Autumn months, so you need to make sure that you can see and be seen to keep as safe as possible when working outdoors. Always wear reflective hoods or hats to keep rain out of your eyes, or even goggles if you need to have a wide range of vision around you that a hood would otherwise restrict. Just remember to make sure that any warm clothing doesn’t restrict your vision too much or reduce your hearing. If you can, ensure that the area you are working in is well lit, otherwise, always wear bright-coloured or reflective vests to ensure that you can be seen by others, especially vehicular traffic.
Check You’re Using the Right Equipment
It is always useful to double check that the equipment you need to use for your work is appropriate for the wet weather; this is especially important if tools are electrical and if you are using anything that doesn’t have non-slip grip handles. It’s also good practice to check if the materials that you are using are slip resistant when wet, especially when you’re working on road surfaces or pavements.
Drive Cautiously in the Rain or Darkness
We all know that driving is much more difficult in the rain or in the dark, so we need to be extra cautious. Poor visibility and conditions mean that stopping distances should be doubled as the friction between the car’s tyres and the road surface is reduced, and in extreme conditions, further dangers such as aquaplaning can occur where the car’s steering becomes unresponsive. Always make sure that you drive at an appropriate speed in bad weather and always check your lights and controls are working before you take off on your journey.
In these upcoming months, there will be a lot of rain and darkness, so make sure you work safely with these tips!
Need More Help?
ActiveHSE provides many publications and resources on Health and Safety. If you need any advice or guidance, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
firstname.lastname@example.org | 07921 278986