While many of us will spend the winter working indoors, there are a lot of laborers, including farmers, who will log a lot of hours outside this season. Workers exposed to cold, wet, and windy conditions for a prolonged period of time are at a higher risk of injuries, frostbite, heart attack, and more.
To help keep farmers safe, Kent McGuire, Agriculture Safety and Health Coordinator at Ohio State University, has put together a list of recommendations for farmers working in winter conditions. We’ve shared that list, which originally appeared in The Courier, below.
- Wear appropriate clothing and remove or replace wet or damp clothing, including gloves, as soon as possible.
- If possible, perform work during the warmest part of the day and take frequent short breaks in a warm, dry area to allow the body to rest and warm up.
- Keep paths free from ice and snow in the winter.
- Stretch your muscles before beginning any activity. Don’t overload your shovel and take frequent breaks to rest your back. Be sure to bend your knees and let your legs do the lifting. Also, avoid twisting motions which can lead to pulled muscles.
- Take short steps and walk at a slower pace when walking on icy or snow-covered areas.
- Keep your hands out of your pocket when walking to reduce the risk of falling or losing your balance when walking on snow or ice.
- Use three-points of contact when mounting or dismounting equipment (i.e. one hand/two feet or two hands/one foot).
- Be aware of vision transitions moving from outdoor to indoor environments. Wear glasses to reduce glare and protect your eye from UV rays being reflected from snowy surfaces in the winter.
- Utilize a visual reference point to stay on course when plowing, sweeping, or snowblowing.
- Use caution with gas-powered equipment. Use them in well-ventilated areas only.
- Watch for frostbite and signs of hypothermia.
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