Don’t take cold-weather shortcuts when working outdoors

RICHMOND—When the temperature drops, it is even more important to work safely and take your time.

“When it is cold outside, you want to finish quickly so you can go inside where it’s warm, but that’s usually when accidents happen,” said Jimmy Maass, Virginia Farm Bureau’s safety manager.

When working outside in the winter, it’s important to dress for the weather. Dressing in layers, especially when working early in the morning, is best so that as the temperature rises, you can take off some outerwear and still be comfortable, Maass said.

“It’s also important to cover up to avoid frostbite. Your ears, cheeks, nose, chin, fingers and toes are very susceptible to frostbite.”

When working earlier in the morning, watch out for slippery spots where dew or rain might have frozen overnight. Use caution when working around ponds and creeks that are covered with ice; don’t assume that the ice will hold your weight. Always let someone know where you are going and when you will return.

Store shovels, ice scrapers and ice melt where you can find them easily. Use ice melt or cat litter on stairs and walkways to keep people from slipping. If you have areas that will need snow shoveled, consider purchasing an ergonomic snow shovel, which is easier on your back, and take frequent breaks when shoveling.

Don’t go out during or immediately after a winter storm unless it’s absolutely necessary, Maass said, and use caution no matter what you’re driving.

“Often people driving four-wheel-drive vehicles think they can drive normally, but they usually find out the hard way that a four-wheel drive vehicle can and will lose control in wintery conditions too.”

Even when the road appears clear, drive slowly, and watch for black ice, emergency vehicles and snowplows.

Contact Maass at 804-290-1379.

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