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Wind chill and weather hazards make outdoor work dangerous

| Feb 23, 2021 | Workers' Compensation |

Working in North Carolina, the temperatures don’t usually drop too far. However, even a chilly day can pose a danger to those working outside.

Winter weather can create a number of dangerous conditions such as slippery surfaces, cold temperatures, and strong winds. Depending on what your job is, those conditions could turn hazardous and life-threatening.

Understand wind chill to protect yourself outside

Though the temperatures aren’t likely to drop below freezing often in North Carolina, you could see the wind chill have a significant impact on your comfort. The term “wind chill” refers to how cold it feels when the wind is factored into the outside temperature. For example, on a day when the wind is blowing at 15 mph and the temperature is 35 degrees outside, you’ll feel like it’s 25 degrees. If it’s 50 degrees outside and the wind is blowing at 15 mph, then you can expect to feel like it’s only 44.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

This wind chill factor is most significant when the temperatures are at freezing or below, but they can impact you even at moderate temperatures. It’s possible to suffer from hypothermia and other cold-related conditions when the temperatures are in the 50s or 60s if it’s wet and windy, for example.

What can you do to stay warmer when you work outside?

If you’ll be working outside, you should always account for the wind chill, rain and other elements. If you can, placing a wind block around your worksite is one way to reduce the wind and warm up the area. You can also wear specific personal protective equipment, such as gloves and waterproof boots, which will prevent the conditions from impacting your extremities as quickly as they would otherwise.

In severe conditions, it’s usually best to avoid working outside when possible. Your employer should have information about outdoor safety hazards and when work should stop, such as if the wind is too high to safely work on a ladder or when a gale could cause debris to impact workers. If the temperatures drop too low because of the wind chill, that’s something they should also address.