It’s Cold Out There!
Over the past few days, much of the U.S. experienced snow and extreme cold. In addition to snow, winter weather brings ice and a list of complications for getting to and from work, not to mention those of us who must drive to make deliveries and complete service calls during our workday. And there are some of us that must work outside in the poor weather.
We compiled some safety tips for you about being out in the cold in general. For additional information, we recommend looking at tips from weather.gov about preparing your home for cold weather.
1. Keep your vehicle ready. Keep up with scheduled maintenance and oil changes. Inspect tires, fluid levels, lights, and the battery regularly.
2. Have an emergency kit with basics, including (but not limited to) sunglasses, a toolkit, flashlights, extra windshield wiper fluid, a shovel, ice scrapers, sand or kitty litter to use for traction, warm clothing and blankets, and a phone charger.
3. Keep the gas tank at least 2/3 full.
4. Make sure a dispatcher or a coworker knows where you are going and when to expect you to return. If you are driving for a non-work purpose, like going home for the holidays, tell a friend or family member your route and potential expected times of arrival to and from the location.
Winter Outdoor Work:
1. Dress for success. Wear multiple layers of loose, warm clothing. Synthetic fabrics worn close to the skin will help to retain your body heat. Protect your ears, hands, and feet by wearing a hat, and water-resistive gloves and shoes or boots.
2. Know the symptoms of hypothermia (shivering, fatigue, loss of coordination, confusion, or disorientation) and frostbite (skin redness that becomes white or grey in color, and that feels waxy, firm, or numb to the touch). Know when you should take a break to warm up.
3. Have chemical warming packs available in your vehicle, first aid kit, and/or pockets.
4. Schedule the work to limit the time outdoors in the colder parts of the day.
1. Watch for traffic as you get out of the vehicle. Other vehicles may be slipping and sliding your direction.
2. Wear insulated, water-resistant boots with good rubber soles for traction.
3. Pay attention to where you are walking, staying on flat sidewalks that have been treated to reduce icy conditions, taking slow, deliberate steps.
4. During breaks, drink warm, decaffeinated beverages, and have warm meals.
Winter weather is survivable and taking a little prevention before venturing out into the cold will make the season safer.