Ice and snow fundamentally change the dynamics of on-the-job safety risks — and that means when the mercury drops this season, you'll need to take some extra precautions to avoid accidents and injuries.

At Randstad, after all, we're deeply committed to bringing your career goals to life. Our commitment to workplace safety is an extension of that. So if you're ready to make safety a top priority this season, here are a few tips to help ensure you don't get sidelined by an injury.

winter safety starts with you

Adhering to the following three best practices will go a long way toward keeping you safe at work this winter.

  • situational awareness

When the temperature plummets, people often put their hands in their pockets in an effort to stay warm. But that can be a big mistake where on-the-job safety is concerned. After all, doing so means you're less ready to steady yourself in the event of an unexpected slip. If your hands are in your pockets, in other words, you could be in trouble. It also goes without saying that looking at your phone while walking or working is a recipe for disaster.

  • team up to circumvent safety risks

Carrying heavy loads can upset your balance, particularly in slippery conditions, which is why it's a good idea to always work with a teammate. If you think there's a chance that you might get hurt, you shouldn't hesitate to ask for help instead of doing it yourself. What's more, if you notice unsafe conditions — for example, wet or frozen surfaces — be sure to notify your supervisor right away.

  • dress appropriately for winter weather conditions

Snow and ice, beyond being cold and slippery, have a tendency to reduce visibility, too. In that context, wearing the right clothing can do two things at once: keep you warm, while also making you much more visible to coworkers, pedestrians, motorists and more.

So when the temperature drops this year, don't just wear warm clothing — a hood or scarf around your head, for example, together with appropriate footwear — but aim for bright colors, too. If need be, you can always add a brightly colored safety vest on top of your work attire as well. But be mindful of the reduced visibility that may come with wearing items like hoods and scarves. These may reduce your peripheral vision, so if you're wearing an item that may impact your field of view, take extra care when crossing roadways or parking lots.

know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia

Frostbite and hypothermia can result from being exposed to cold weather for prolonged periods of time. Both conditions can cause serious bodily harm, so it's important to know how to spot the following signs and symptoms.

  • Frostbite: skin that is very cold and turns numb, hard and pale, blisters or swelling, joint or muscle stiffness.
  • Hypothermia: shivering or shaking, shivering or shaking, drowsiness or confusion, slurred speech.

what to do in the event of frostbite or hypothermia

While knowing the signs of frostbite and hypothermia is critically important, preventing these conditions in the first place is even more so. Early communication is a key part of that. If you think that you or a coworker may be suffering from either of these conditions, don't keep it to yourself. Speak up! Notify your point of contact at Randstad as soon as possible.

Beyond that, it's imperative for you to take action — and get help — immediately. For starters, try to move to a warmer area to prevent additional heat loss, keeping the affected body part(s) elevated in order to reduce swelling once you do. You should also remove any wet clothing immediately, apply dry, sterile bandages to the affected areas and place cotton between affected fingers or toes. Seek proper medical care as soon as possible.

key safety takeaways

Knowing the signs and symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia can help prevent negative health outcomes from exposure to cold weather. At the same time, if you ever have safety-related concerns, please notify your Randstad supervisor. We value your feedback — and your safety on the job is always our top priority. If you have any ideas for potential workplace safety improvements, we'd love to hear them, too. Together, let's make this your best year yet professionally.