Exclusive Industry Interview: Working in the Great Outdoors
It’s a big world out there – and somebody has to work in it! For aerial lift operators and other aerial work platforms (AWP) employees, the challenges of working in the Great Outdoors never cease – especially for those who live with frequent inclement weather.
The scissor lift & aerial lift safety experts here at AerialLiftCertification.com recently asked some industry luminaries, safety consultants, and other business leaders on working outside. Their responses are worth sharing, so we published them below.
What’s interesting about these answers to queries about working outside is that they mirror many of the principles contained in our OSHA safety courses and certification classes. With three different training courses, insider expertise, and friendly customer service, we’re the #1 compliance solution for companies all across the United States.
If you, your employees or co-workers work outside all across the United States, keep reading for tips & tricks on how to stay safe working outdoors.
Challenges of Working Outdoors: Dealing with Weather, Wind and Much More
We asked a host of business leaders and others for their insight on the challenges of working outdoors, and what they recommend for dealing with everything from high winds to low visibility.
For Business Coach Stacy Caprio, frequent breaks are essential. “The changing temperature, especially hot and cold extremes, can be huge challenges for anyone working outdoors,” said Ms. Caprio. “To overcome the extreme heat and cold, make sure heat-regulated spaces are available. Take advantage of these spaces, and take as many breaks as you need.”
Fatigue is a major cause for workplace accidents, and Ms. Caprio realizes the importance of staying fresh and alert on the job. “I have to remind my clients about this underrated element of staying safe outside – but it’s always well worth it,” said Mr. Caprio.
Cold temperatures are always a concern for the staff at Invertpro, a power converter company. According to one representative, “Working outdoors can expose employees to extreme cold that can cause hypothermia. Be aware of the common symptoms, including shivering, fatigue, confusion or disorientation. If this happens get to a warmer place and drink a warm beverage.”
Another Invertpro associate’s advice? Be prepared with essential cold-weather gear. “A thermal blanket or jacket is very handy to prevent you from getting hypothermia.”
Pest control employees already have to deal with a menacing outdoor (and sometimes indoor) problem: spiders, cockroaches, you name it. Entrepreneur Dane Kolbaba of Watchdog Pest Control had plenty of solid advice for staying safe outdoors. “Outdoor workers have a higher risk of skin cancer due to UV radiation exposure, and even on cloudy days up to 80% of UV rays can pass through clouds so you’re almost never in the clear when working outside, said Mr. Kolbaba. “Make sure you use sunscreen and protective clothing such as hats and long-sleeved shirts in addition to other protective gear your job requires. It’s very important to regularly check your skin for suspicious freckles and moles.”
But the sun isn’t the only factor outdoor workers should monitor. Terrain conditions are also important. “Another challenge in working outdoors may be that you’re often walking on uneven terrain, so make sure you’re wearing very supportive footwear that’s appropriate for what you do,” cautioned Mr. Kolbaba. “Depending on what work it is you do, you may also want to train yourself in proper posture — if you’re regularly carrying heavy items, there is a correct and incorrect way of holding it so it puts less pressure on your back.”
AerialLiftCertification.com would like to thank all respondents for their input!