Workplace safety is one of the primary issues that most companies and corporations should prioritize. It should never take a back seat to profit because the workers are the lifeline of the business. Without them, no company will function fully, allowing them to earn as much as they should.
The thing about workplace safety is it is not just confined to office spaces. Every employee’s safety is paramount, especially those operating outside the confines of an office or building. This includes drivers, construction workers, farmers, and other professionals who are getting work done outdoors. Whether they do it for a or an agricultural business, these workers’ safety should be given the same value as those who work indoors.
The Most Common Outdoor Threats to Mobile and Site Workers
Outdoor, mobile, and site workers are faced with different types of health hazards that are different from the dangers office workers encounter. We have broken them down into the following categories:
Terrain and Geography
Whether natural or manufactured, the environment and surroundings play a huge part in keeping workers safe and endangering them. Things like uneven and slippery surfaces or holes in the ground can cause trips and falls. Worksites surrounded by water can cause drowning. Plant life can also be a threat, such as poison ivy. Even power lines or other falling objects can cause serious bodily harm to a person.
Exposure to the elements andis another thing that outdoor and mobile workers constantly deal with. Think hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, blizzards, hail, and other similar natural phenomena that are dangerous to work in.
If you’re not dealing with bad weather, overexposure to the sun isn’t pleasant. Outdoor workers are more susceptible to sunburn, heatstroke, and dehydration.
Animals and Insects
People inevitably encounter different types of critters and creepy crawlies when working outdoors. Loggers, miners, farmers, and even your friendly neighborhood mail carrier must deal with the dangers of animal and insect attacks.
Biological hazards also threaten outdoor workers’ health and safety. Exposure tocan put a person at tremendous risk.
On top of all these, there’s also the threat of Exposure to pesticides and harmful chemicals. Construction and other outdoor industrial workers are constantly exposed to loud industrial noises, damaging their hearing.
Safety Measures Against Outdoor Hazards
Given all the health threats outdoor workers face daily, here are a few things that employers and managers can do to protect their health:
Provision of Shelters and Other Indoor Facilities
If workers are far from any building with facilities that allow them to eat, rest, and relieve themselves when needed, they should be provided with satellite shelters to do these things.
Requirement of Proper Safety Work Gear and Equipment
The weather is one of the primary concerns any outdoor worker has. Employers should strictly enforce health and safety guidelines and require employees to wear the appropriate personal protective clothing, gear, and equipment. This may be as simple as wearing hard hats and steel-toed boots to wearing hazmat suits with powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs).
No amount of protective gear can compensate for the power of hydration. A worker who spends most of his time under the sun must stay hydrated and have access to clean drinking water and salt-replacing fluids at all times.
COVID-19 has completely disrupted the way we do things. Employees who do most of their work outdoors are at a greater risk of contracting this airborne virus mainly because they are in public most of the time. Now, employers and managers should know the latest updates from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This type of information gathering can also be applied to all other potential threats. The more you know about a threat, the more prepared you can be.
Proper Training for Outdoor Safety Protocols
As we’re already talking about preparations, training your staff, both office-based and mobile/site workers, in different safety protocols will come in handy in keeping your employees safe. Generally, most workplace safety guidelines are made for indoor work. An extra set of health and safety protocols must be created for constantly outdoors employees. However, as helpful as these written rules are, they won’t be as effective without proper training.
Periodic Health Assessments
Lastly, outdoor workers need regular health assessments to ensure they are not compromised. The reviews will determine whether they’re still fit for their work or need to take time off from the sun to allow their bodies to recover and recuperate as required.
Outdoor worker safety should never be overlooked or neglected. Employers owe it to them to develop different ways of ensuring they are always protected and kept safe.