Dec 12, 2019

Winter Occupational Safety for Propane & Fuel Oil Dealers

Even though winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21, it’s already landed in different parts of the country where snow, ice, and sleet are a norm. Harsh winters aren’t anything out of the ordinary for places like the northeast, midwest, and Rocky Mountain range, where more industrial companies have operated for decades to take advantage of natural resources like natural gas.

But professionals who work in the industry, as well as vendors of propane and fuel have to bear the brunt of the harsh regional winter weather cutting through the United States, must take precautions to avoid any avoidable health and safety problems. Through occupational safety initiatives and proactive planning, propane and fuel dealers can stay safe, even in the middle of a tough winter.

Increasing Risk of Injury and Insurance Claims

Propane and fuel dealers have to monitor equipment throughout sub-zero weather in the winter. From checking on tanks to helping refill them and working with customers, these workers come in harm’s way throughout their day. But, this is unavoidable as different parts of the country will see high use of propane, for instance.

However, even spending a short amount of time outdoors handling any one of these tasks can leave a worker susceptible to frostbite and harmful injuries. Winter weather can put workers right in the middle of injury and cold stress and companies in the middle of claims covered by propane and fuel dealers insurance, meant to protect companies after injury-related claims.

An oil insurance company would be right to invest in this kind of coverage to stave off costly injury claims that can cause financial stress during a difficult time of year. Whether it’s a cold that sidelines an employee for a couple of weeks or cold stress that puts them in the hospital for a significant amount of time, propane and fuel dealers insurance is a well-rounded safety net for businesses.

According to OSHA, cold stress is a common problem for professionals who work outside in the cold, causing the skin temperature to be driven down low, eventually affecting the internal body temperature. When the body can’t warm itself, serious cold-related illnesses increase, including hypothermia, frostbite, and trench foot.

Staying Safe

In these extreme temperatures, those working outdoors, even momentarily, should plan ahead for the cold weather and for oncoming storms. Workers should always wear the right clothes and layers, and understand how their body responds to the cold.

First, propane and fuel dealers should wear the right material, such as wool, silk, or synthetic blends to allow for breathability when need be. These fabrics retain insulation even when they’re wet. Per OSHA, workers should also wear at least three layers of clothing, depending on the temperature and how long they plan to be outside.

Employees should also layer up with a hat or hood (or both) to help reduce the amount of body heat released on an exposed head. Safety insulated gloves should be worn at all time as well, especially when dealing with propane and fuel tanks.

Another good rule of thumb is to stay well nourished by eating and drinking the right foods and drinks, and the right amount. Employees should make sure to drink enough fluids as they can dehydrate faster in cold weather conditions. Dehydration causes major headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Eating enough food throughout the day should be stressed too, especially healthy yet fatty foods and carbohydrates.

About Tangram Insurance Services

Located across the Golden Gate Bridge, just outside of San Francisco, Tangram Insurance Services is a full-service Managing General Underwriter and Program Manager offering specialty programs. We focus on industry-relevant coverage, competitive pricing, and practical business and risk management solutions for your clients. Since we are not all things to all people, we make sure to create outstanding custom-built solutions that matter to those businesses, and the brokers who serve those industries. Contact us at (888) 744-9810.