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We operate in more than 50 countries around the world. If your country is not on the list, please refer to our global contacts.

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We operate in more than 50 countries around the world. If your country is not on the list, please refer to our global contacts.

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We operate in more than 50 countries around the world. If your country is not on the list, please refer to our global contacts.

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We operate in more than 50 countries around the world. If your country is not on the list, please refer to our global contacts.

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Press
11-03-19-How To Keep Your Facility Prepared for Extreme Weather Conditions

How To Keep Your Facility Prepared for Extreme Weather Conditions

Whether you're in the middle of a winter wonderland or a full-on "snowpocalypse", managing a facility in extreme weather poses important challenges that you can't afford to ignore.

By Aleya Harris


Whether you’re in the middle of a winter wonderland or a full-on “snowpocalypse”, managing a facility in extreme weather poses important challenges that you can’t afford to ignore. Ice, snow, and plummeting temperatures can be serious hazards for employees who have to work outside, especially maintenance workers tasked with clearing snow buildup from buildings and equipment.


It is imperative that management be aware of the increased risks associated with extreme cold weather and take steps to mitigate the dangers workers will expose themselves to by working in such conditions. Preventable cold-weather accidents can be extremely costly and damaging, to say nothing of the impact on the lives of the workers involved.


Here are four areas of winter safety prep you don’t want to overlook.

Freezing Temperatures


When the air outside is freezing or near-freezing, you not only have the obvious dangers of frostbite and hypothermia, you also have to contend with increasing risks of dehydration, overexertion, muscle strains. Cold can exacerbate underlying health conditions, leading to serious events like heart attacks.


When you need to send workers outside in winter weather, make sure they are properly outfitted with appropriate protective gear: thermal clothing, gloves, and hats at the minimum. It is also important to ensure that there are easily accessible areas where employees can warm up after long periods of exposure.

Falling Ice


Anyone required to work under overhangs or other structures where icicles have formed—or anywhere else ice buildup may become dislodged and fall—should have adequate safety gear, training in safe ladder placement, and equipment that allows them to clear ice and debris without standing directly beneath it.

Slippery Surfaces


Any time water freezes on a surface people will be walking on, it creates a serious slipping hazard. Snow and ice should be cleared from walkways as quickly as possible, and deicing fluids, salts, or mats should be deployed as well.


When workers must walk on snow-covered or icy walkways, they should be provided with insulated footwear with sufficient traction for slippery surfaces.

Toxic Fumes


Snowy weather sometimes means that more heavy equipment is getting hauled out and put to use—generators, engines, heaters, and the like. The carbon monoxide fumes emitted by these machines can poison the workers breathing them in before they realize what’s happening.


All gas-powered equipment should be subject to rigorous safety standards, but it’s especially important to be vigilant with seasonal equipment that workers might not be used to. Be sure to use carbon monoxide monitors, properly ventilate all indoor spaces where such equipment will be operated and verify that ventilation and exhaust systems are clear of ice, snow, and other debris.

Don’t Let the Weather Slow Your Team Down


Not every enterprise has the option to stop working when the frigid weather comes to visit. As a facility manager, it’s up to you to make sure that workers have the gear, training, and guidance they need to stay safe in extreme cold weather.