Waterproof Your Workspace

Working in wet conditions can cause more than just an annoying hassle. Safety hazards including slippery surfaces, limited visibility and even electrical shock can put workers at risk for injury. When working in wet or rainy conditions, these tips from OSHA can help you "waterproof" your workspace and reduce risk of injury.


You may want to work more quickly to get out of the rain or wet conditions as soon as possible. However, water and liquids can quickly turn any surface, especially ladders, into a slippery situation. It's best to slow down, take a breath and focus on the task at hand. Remember... It's easier to get out of your rainwear than it is a hospital bed!


Choose raincoats and pants that are made from materials suitable to the working environment but can also be worn comfortably for long periods of time. Chemical resistance, arc flash protection, or high visibility needs should be taken into consideration. Layering with wool or moisture-wicking synthetic materials designed for cold environments underneath your rain gear will help you stay warm when the temperatures drop.


Slip-proof footwear and gloves can provide grip on slippery surfaces. Footwear should feature deep treads to prevent slipping and extend above the ankle. Be sure pants lie over the boot rather than tucking to prevent water from seeping in. Gloves should feature a non-slip grip and tight sleeve that is long enough to fit under the cuff of your raincoat.


Wet and rainy conditions can greatly reduce visibility, especially in dim lighting. Wearing a hat or hood can help keep the rain out of your eyes, but take extra caution as it can also narrow your range of vision. Be sure to use anti-fog glasses, goggles, spray or wipes. High-Visibility clothing should be worn to ensure you are easily seen, especially in areas with vehicle traffic and heavy machinery. Need to light up the dark? Check your lighting equipment to ensure it is rated for outdoor use.


Electricity and wet conditions make for a deadly combination. Make sure electrical tools and equipment are rated specifically for outdoor use. Selecting tools and equipment with textured, non-slip grip will also help prevent accidental drops.