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Proper Cold - Weather Work Clothing

Somehow the change in weather has snuck up on us. We all know working in cold weather can be difficult. Most of us believe that you should just put on more layers or thicker clothes and everything will be fine, but too much or the wrong kind of clothing can be just as bad as too little. In the Midwest we all have a good sense that weather can change on a dime and winter months are no different. February can be -20 one day and 60 degrees the next. You may be surprised how many workers do not know what the weather will bring that day. Therefore, employers should brief workers on what conditions to expect. This will ensure that everyone understands what weather is expected and what cold weather gear is going to be needed during the work shift.

What should you be wearing?

  • Head – It is important to have head protection from the cold and/or wind. Keep in mind that if a hard hat is needed it must either fit over the protection or fit under it as in a hood. Also, don’t forget to protect the ears and neck.

  • Torso – Thicker does not mean better! Start with thin under garments to help remove perspiration and then layer additional clothing on top. Layers will help hold in heat between them and you can add/remove one or more layers as the day’s temperature changes.

  • Hands – Again, thicker is not better. Use layers of thinner gloves to get the temperature right while still being able to work effectively.

  • Legs and Arms – Your legs and arms generally experience less cold stress while you are working. Be cognoscente that your clothing/layering does not hinder your walking, setting, squatting and arm movements. 

  • Feet – This is generally the most challenging area to keep warm. Feet have less circulation and they are generally less mobile since they are tied into boots. Again, you will start with a layer of thin socks then build from there as needed. Investing in a good pair of winter boots can prove beneficial. Some even come insulated so you don’t need extra socks!

Stay dry and keep warm!
U.S. Department of Labor
Cites Georgia Telecommunications Contractor for Exposing Employees to Excavation Hazards After Fatal Incident

DE SOTO, GA – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Triple S Communications Inc. for violations of OSHA's trenching and excavation standards after an employee was fatally injured in a trench collapse at a De Soto, Georgia, worksite. The Moultrie, Georgia, telecommunications installation contractor faces $58,025 in penalties.

The employee was fatally injured while performing fiber optic connections. OSHA initiated the inspection as a result of the incident and as part of the National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation.

OSHA cited the company for failing to train employees on how to recognize trench safety hazards, have a competent person conduct trench inspections, provide a safe means of egress from the excavation and prevent water accumulation inside the excavation. OSHA also cited the employer for allowing employees to work in the 10-foot excavation without shoring, sloping or shielding trench walls, and failing to report a fatality within eight hours, as required.

"Excavation collapses are among the most dangerous hazards in the workplace. Employers must be vigilant in identifying and mitigating these hazards," said OSHA Savannah Area Office Director Margo Westmoreland. "Training employees to recognize and control hazards can minimize serious and fatal injuries. OSHA encourages employers to contact the agency for compliance assistance with trenching and excavation requirements."

OSHA's trenching and excavation webpage provide additional information and resources on hazards and solutions, including a trenching operations QuickCard and a "Protect Workers in Trenches" poster.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
Brandon Black - (515) 577-5198 or Brandon@IowaCSSI.com 
Michael Messer - (319) 572-3595 or Michael@IowaCSSI.com
Mark Wieland - (515) 577-7622 or Mark@IowaCSSI.com
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WORKSAFE is a partnership between Master Builders of Iowa and Iowa OSHA, with safety services provided by Construction Safety Specialists, Inc. For more information on the WORKSAFE program or for safety inquiries, please contact one of the CSSI safety professionals at info@iowacssi.com

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