Safety Tips | Working in the Wet & Rain
Even if your job doesn’t take you outside, you may find yourself out doing yard work in the wet and rain because let’s face it, some of those spring-time jobs would simply never get done if you waited for a day that was completely beautiful and dry.
Safety should ALWAYS come first – if you feel you cannot safely complete a task in the wet and rain, communicate with your employer and re-prioritize to shift the timeline of this task. No job, project, or yardwork is worth an injury. However, we humans won’t melt, and there are many tasks that with a bit of extra precaution can be complete in the wet and rain with no issue! Read on for 8 tips on how to keep safe while working in the wet and rain:
1. Slow and Steady…
We all have an instinct when in the rain to quickly complete our task so we can get back inside as soon as possible. However, since rain makes everything more slippery, you need to work against that instinct and work more slowly and carefully. Be deliberate with your movements and take your time, especially when working at a height or climbing ladders. In reality, you’re getting wet either way, so you might as well just go with it and safety return inside once you’ve taken the time you need to complete your task.
2. Power Tools?
It’s important to use the correct equipment. Do not use electrical tools and equipment that are not specifically rated for outdoor use when working in the wet or rain. We all know what happens when electricity and water come together – You’ll be lucky if you walk away with just broken equipment.
When using hand tools, ensure you are using tools with textured nonslip grip handles. Wet hands and/or tools can lead to losing your grip and dropping your tools. Your toes will thank you for using tools with a grip handles!
3. Stop the Drop!
If you’re working at a height exceeding 3 meters (10 feet) occupational health and safety laws generally require fall protection measures to be in place – You can check with your jurisdiction as requirements do vary. Fall protection is particularly important when working in the wet and rain because your chance of slipping is increased working on a wet surface.
It’s also important to remember that certain fall protection equipment is designed to be worn as close to your body as possible. This means you cannot wear this equipment on top of bulky, heavy, or slick rain gear! You shouldn’t wear your fall protection equipment over anything but your base layer of clothing – this being your underwear, pants, and shirt. So what are you supposed to do? You can purchase special rain gear made to be worn with fall protection equipment that allows workers to wear their harness snug to their body and the jacket on top while still being able to safely attach to connectors and lifelines through holes.
4. Gear Up!
Speaking of rain gear, it is important to wear appropriate rain gear. If you are cold and wet, you are going to have a hard time concentrating on the work at hand. Rain gear which includes both a coat and pants or overalls and is ventilated should be worn for prolonged wet-weather work. If it’s cold and rainy, wool or synthetic fibers specifically designed for cold weather use are the best for wear under rain gear because it will keep you warm even if it gets wet. Also, wear rain gear that is the proper size; if it’s too large it may interfere with movement. (pssssttt…if you’re in Atlantic Canada, our sister company Spartan Marine is a great place to pick up rain gear).
5. These Boots Are Made For…
And the gear shouldn’t stop there, appropriate footwear is just as important! #1 most important for working in the wet and rain is footwear with deep treads to help prevent slipping. Footwear that’s in poor condition will be your ultimate enemy when working in the wet and rain as it will often fail to keep water out, and cause you to slip and fall if the tread has been worn smooth. A tip to really keep that water out is to wear a shoe that extends above the ankle, and rain gear that extends to the ankle – and keep the boot inside of the pant leg opposed to tucking the pant leg into the footwear.
6. Get a Grip!
What gets the coldest in the rain? Your fingers and your toes! Now that we have your toes covered in tip number 5, we’re moving on to those fingers. Use proper hand protection that fits snuggly and provide a non-slip grip. That non-slip grip will work together with the grip on your hand tools and will make it very easy to keep a firm grip on your tools, no matter how wet they get. To prevent water from getting into your gloves, make sure that the sleeve of the glove is tight-fitting and is long enough to fit under the cuff of your jacket.
7. See Clearly Even if the Rain Isn’t Gone…
You’ve got to make sure you can see! Be sure your work area is well lit, and if needed, ensure any lights used are rated for outdoor use. If you choose to wear goggles or eyeglasses, use an antifogging spray or wipe on them before heading outside. Hoods and hats can also be used to keep the rain out of your face and eyes, but they can limit your vision, so make a point to turn your head when looking around you.
8. Visibility! Visibility! Visibility!
And it’s just as important to be seen. Especially if you are working in an area with traffic, always wear bright-colored, reflective vests or rain gear, even during the day. Stear away from rain gear or vests that have become wore and dull and therefore are no longer as reflective.
The best way to do something safely is to do it correctly, and that comes with proper training and education! Hercules SLR recognizes that and through the Hercules Training Academy, offers an extensive suite of high-quality safety training and certification courses.
Brand new classrooms and specialized training equipment enable us to provide an even higher quality of service than ever before when it comes to safety training. Whether you’re looking for initial or refresher training, we provide practical, hands-on courses designed to exceed the minimum safety requirements.
Our courses can be customized to fit your workplace’s specific needs. We are always willing to design a course (or multiple courses) specifically for you!
If you’re interested in building a customized training program, please get in touch. One of our training representatives would be happy to help you get started.