Spring is upon us, and with all its new wonders, there are also many hazards that come along with it. Mudslides, falling rocks in mountainous areas, floods, thin ice, mudholes, slippery conditions, and many other hazards now become a threat to worker safety. It is a time when people start to shake off the woes of winter and relax a bit more, especially in those grueling jobs where deep snow and freezing cold take their toll on the psyche.

As the temperatures rise and the snow melts, new creeks and runoff areas that were hidden during the winter come to life and can make travel risky, or even dangerous in remote locations. When completing your daily safety plan, make sure to adjust your plan to include the new hazards that come with the seasonal changes.

Not only is it the time of year when you need to adapt your safety plans on the job, it is also a time when work around the house and yard get back into motion with cutting the grass and trimming the trees. That means using power tools, lawn mowers and fertilizers to remove debris that has piled up over the winter and needs to be dealt with. Take a minute to review the operating instructions of all your spring and summer machines, as well as inspect them for service hazards, loose blades and other potential hazards to reassure yourself on how to operate them safely.

Here are some examples of spring-specific hazards to broaden your scope during your spring risk assessment:

  • Partially dead trees

  • Thin ice

  • Flood zones

  • Creeks, washes, runoff areas

  • Melting and thawed muskeg

  • Mudslides

  • Avalanches

  • Falling rocks near highways

  • Lawnmower and chainsaw safety

  • Chemicals in fertilizers

  • Slippery roads

  • Tornadoes

  • Smoke alarm batteries

  • Water contamination

  • Loose debris in lawn and yard

It is easy to carry on with your regular work routines into spring without considering the aspects of safety that come with the season. To ensure a safe and positive approach to spring safety on the job and in the yard, take a moment to reflect on not only the risks, but also the goals for the season. How will your job be affected by the seasonal change? How will your goals for spring cleaning your yard, garage, or home be affected by the weather?

In many industries and jobs that require work outside, it is important to get a good pair of rubber boots with steel toes, as your winter boots may be too heavy or warm. A good set of rubbers should have the safety seal to comply with industry standards for your particular job. These boots can be a lifesaver during the initial stages of spring when you encounter deep mud patches and waterways. Other safety tips include dressing in layers, so if you get too hot, you can shed or add a layer when needed. (Get some winter safety tips in Stay on Top: A Workers' Guide to Safe Work Around Water and Ice.)

Enjoy all the wonders of the season and remember to be safe!