Apr 24, 2018

Industrial Winter Safety: Dos and Don’ts To Take Care of Yourself This Winter

Winter is an enchanting time of the year, one of snuggling up by warm fires and enjoying the glistening of freshly-fallen snow. It is a time of short days and extended nights. It is also a time of seasonal dangers.

Ice, snow and sludge make things trickier, from navigating on foot to driving a car. Some extra care is needed during the coldest months of the year-for both comfort and for safety. 
Consider the clothing you wear.

Layering clothes is essential during winter, but what kind of clothes are you putting on? Tighter clothing reduces blood flow and constricts movement. Loose-fitting layers offer the wearer greater mobility and comfort.

The sun is still a factor to consider during winter, as you can become sunburned even when the temperature has dropped near the negatives. Hats, sunglasses and gloves will limit your skin’s exposure to the sun, keep you warm and protect some of the most vulnerable parts of the body from the brutal elements.

Learn to identify the signs of hypothermia and frostbite.

These conditions can appear quite suddenly, and do long-lasting damage nearly as quickly. If you can identify the early symptoms of these problems you can get yourself or someone else to a hospital where they can receive timely care.

Symptoms of frostbite:
·         Prickling sensation and/or numbness of the skin
·         Skin that has turned red, white, blue-white or grey-white in color
·         Waxy-looking or hard skin
·         Stiff joints and muscles
·         Blistering once the skin becomes warm again

Frostbite occurs most commonly on the ears, nose, fingers, toes and chin. Because numbness is attributed to simply being cold in cold weather, someone might not notice until extensive damage has taken place.

Symptoms of hypothermia:
·         Shivering, especially shivering that abruptly stops
·         Dizziness
·         Difficulty speaking
·         Difficulty moving in a coordinated way
·         Sleepiness
·         Increased heart rate
·         Confusion
·         Apathy

If you or someone with you is experiencing one or more of any of these symptoms, hypothermia or frostbite could be the cause.

Don’t keep your hands in your pockets.

It might seem like the best thing to do, but keeping your hands in your pockets can make things more dangerous if you slip on a patch of ice or snow. You should have your hands free in order to catch yourself if you do fall.

Warm up before any physical exertion.

Some warm-up stretches before going outside to perform a task (like shoveling) will limber you up and minimize the risk of hurting yourself. The cold makes it easier for our joints and muscles to become stiff, so it’s best to work against that whenever you need to do anything that involves a lot of movement.

Take breaks whenever possible.

We know that you’re busy, and taking breaks isn’t always easy. But it helps to take a few minutes here and there to warm up before going back at your task. If you find parts of your body going numb from the cold, you could actually hurt yourself without realizing it.

Consider protection such as Power Blanket for your heating devices. If you are using any kind of heater to improve the condition of your space, make sure that there is proper ventilation to get toxins like carbon monoxide out of there. For this reason you should also avoid warming up your car in an enclosed garage. Carbon monoxide can cause poisoning and even death.

Clear all pathways for walking and driving.

Just like city plows reduce accidents by clearing the roads of snow, you can reduce your home or worksite by doing the same. A shovel or a snow blower, plus some salt to melt ice and provide traction on your walkways will greatly minimize the risk of falling accidents.

Don’t forget to rehydrate.

You still sweat in the winter. You’re just not as aware of it as you are in the summer, when the temperatures reach sweltering levels. Stay hydrated no matter the time of year to keep your body operating at peak performance.

Mind your footwear.

The shoes or boots that you choose will shape a lot of your winter experience. For optimal safety you want shoes that possess the following qualities:

·         Slip-resistant soles
·         Insulation
·         Proper fitting
·         Rubber treads

Sometimes there is no avoiding the accidents that are brought on by the conditions left by a sudden winter storm. But if you slow down, take the weather and your safety into consideration and act accordingly before you leave the house, you’ll be less likely to experience these accidents. 

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