Staying Safe This Winter
As temperatures drop, and snow and icy weather loom, it's crucial to adequately prepare for the wintery conditions. While it’s easier (and more highly recommended than ever with the ongoing pandemic) to stay home as much as possible this winter, it’s inevitable most of us will have to go out and brave the cold at some point, whether you’re working outside or just making a quick run to the grocery store. As you prepare for the incoming cold temperatures, keep these winter weather safety tips in mind:
Familiarize yourself with weather alerts. It’s important to have an idea of just how cold it’s going to be for your trip outside as well as aware of any inclement weather that may be coming in. Your local weather station will provide weather advisories and warnings of freezing temperatures and wintery conditions such as snow and ice so you can plan and prepare accordingly, so be sure you understand what the different alerts mean.
If a winter storm rolls in, be on the lookout for potential safety hazards that may come with it:
- Icy streets and sidewalks, which could cause slips and falls
- Adverse driving conditions, such as icy roads or low visibility
- Falling objects such as icicles, tree limbs and utilities poles
Prepare appropriately for the cold. If you’re going to be exposed to the winter elements for any amount of time, be sure you’re appropriately prepared. This includes selecting proper clothing and dressing in layers, wearing warm and slip-resistant shoes, and ensuring you have protective accessories such as warm hats, gloves, and scarves.
If you’re going to be working outside in the cold, preparation will take a little extra thought and care. Dress appropriately for the job to ensure you’ll stay warm and dry, but won’t overheat or overexert your body. Plan to take frequent breaks in warm, dry shelters when possible. Always work in pairs, and bring high-calorie foods and warm drinks to keep your energy up and stay hydrated. You should also be aware of the warning signs of frostbite and hypothermia and keep a close eye out for them.
Do your best to avoid winter trip-ups… literally. Due to snow and ice, winter is the season of abundant potential slip and fall injuries. You can greatly reduce the probability of slipping and falling with preparation and precaution:
- Wear shoes that provide traction on snow and ice – avoid plastic and leather-soled shoes and boots
- Be cautious when entering and exiting vehicles and buildings – move slowly and take small steps to maintain your center of balance
- Dry your shoes upon entering a building to avoid melting snow and creating a slip hazard
Even when taking extra precautions, you may still slip. If you feel yourself slipping, try to relax your body, and twist and roll backward to avoid falling forward. If you’re carrying a load, throw it off to the side and try to use your newly-freed arms to break your fall.