Cold weather sees rise in work injuries

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COLDER weather often sees injuries across all workplace industries rise as the exposure to the cold and wet increases risks, says ACT Work Safety commissioner Greg Jones.

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones.

This increase isn’t only seen in industries like construction, and Mr Jones says there is also an increase of risks in the retail and hospitality industries. 

“While outdoor workers have an increased safety risk as they are generally more exposed to icy, frosty and wet conditions, risks often present in other workplaces, such as when members of the community enter businesses with wet shoes or umbrellas,” he says. 

“I would like to remind the community to be mindful of this and workers to be vigilant in reporting and addressing hazards.”

Mr Jones says wearing suitable protective clothing and shoes with solid grip was also critical for workers outside, such as those working on roofs, on construction sites and other capital works projects.

“We often see workers trip, fall or lose their grip when using equipment, with the cold weather causing numbness in hands and feet,” he says. 

“Workers should keep shoes and boots dry and wear gloves and warm protective clothing.

“Employers can also support workers so by ensuring they are not exposed to cold temperatures for extended periods by rotating jobs or moving outside work to warmer parts of the day.”

Mr Jones also urges workplaces to make electrical safety a priority this winter. 

“Electrical equipment used outdoors or in damp conditions has a greater risk of becoming wet and damaged as does extension cords connected to equipment that is moved often,” he says. 

“Electrical equipment should be inspected, tested and tagged regularly. This helps identify damage, wear and electrical faults and keeps you and your co-workers safe.”

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